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The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library goes to Fiestas Patrias

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library goes to Fiestas Patrias

On September 15th and 16th at Seattle Center, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library hosted an outreach table at Fiestas Patrias, the annual commemoration of independence for Latin American countries, many of which celebrate independence days in the month of September. The theme of Fiestas Patrias for 2018 was “Sin Barreras” or “Without Barriers.” The festival is an expression of Latino culture through music, dance, cooking demonstrations, a health fair, and food and community vendor booths. WTBBL staff and volunteers…

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Washington State Library newspaper collections to the rescue

Washington State Library newspaper collections to the rescue

Recently, a Washington State Library patron arrived to ask about accessing old Washington newspapers. She turned out to have quite a story. She had just landed her dream job: no more night shifts, double the salary, and reduced commuting time. She was over the moon, except for one thing: her new job required an official copy of her state-issued birth certificate, plus other documents. How hard could that be? She was born in Washington, and had a driver’s license and school records,…

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Washington State Library at the National Book Festival

Washington State Library at the National Book Festival

Since 2003, Washington state has sent a representative to the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. annually. The festival was the brainchild of librarian and First Lady Laura Bush and then-Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. In its early years, the festival was held on the National Mall, but as it grew in size and popularity it was moved to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Each year all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories are asked…

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Throwback Thursday: What Washington libraries looked like in 1904

Throwback Thursday: What Washington libraries looked like in 1904

J.A. Gabel, appointed Washington State Librarian in 1902 at just 29 years old, penned an insightful report on the condition of the state library system as “an active and aggressive force” for state education and governance. We found the document well worth sharing, both as an interesting historic record and as an explanation of how the State Library came to grow to its current form. Enjoy! Above is a map of the state’s library system as it existed then: the…

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Author Patricia Briggs visits Coyote Ridge Corrections Center

Author Patricia Briggs visits Coyote Ridge Corrections Center

On August 28th, author Patricia Briggs gave a presentation in the library at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center to inmates and the Institutional Libraries Services staff of the State Library, which is a division of the Office of Secretary of State. Nearly 50 inmates attended, and many posed insightful questions about how Briggs approaches the writing process. She said that if you want to be a writer, the first thing you should do is read anything and everything. Her mother was a…

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Open data literacy and the Washington State Library

Open data literacy and the Washington State Library

The Washington State Library has been pleased to host University of Washington Information School (iSchool) Open Data Literacy (ODL) intern Kathleen Sullivan this summer. This was the second year of the open data internship program at the UW iSchool, funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Open Data is the concept of freely-available, non-personal, machine-readable data. This year, four iSchool students were matched up with the City of Seattle, the Washington Department…

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Discover unique collections in Washington libraries

Discover unique collections in Washington libraries

From our standpoint here at the Washington State Library, one of the best things about this summer’s Washington Library Passport Project is that every week, we learn interesting and unique things about the libraries in Washington. Everyone knows about the spectacular architecture of Seattle’s flagship branch, but often our small libraries fly under the radar. By encouraging people to visit Washington libraries and post about something they’ve learned during their visit, all sorts of interesting stories have emerged. This morning,…

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Spotlight on State Library Special Collections: The Holy Roman Emperor, the Conquistador, and the Emperor of the Aztecs

Spotlight on State Library Special Collections: The Holy Roman Emperor, the Conquistador, and the Emperor of the Aztecs

Recently a question hit the State Library Twitter feed that requires a little more explanation than Twitter’s 280-character limit allows. That very fine question was: “What is the oldest book in the library’s collection?” Well, the State Library has a lot of older books and maps in our Special Collections, but the Territorial Collection has the distinction of holding the oldest book.[i] It also happens to be amongst the earliest European accounts about the Americas: it is the first Latin edition of the…

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Exploring Washington’s libraries via Passport

Exploring Washington’s libraries via Passport

Last summer, the solar eclipse of 2017 was a HUGE event — and libraries stood at the epicenter. Eclipse glasses were sold out in stores, online, and pretty much everywhere. As a result, the small stash of glasses we saved at the Washington State Library to hand out on eclipse day became a truly hot commodity. Some people even camped out in their cars to be first in line for glasses! Our eclipse event was a smashing success. Upon seeing…

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Summer reading kickoff party at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

Summer reading kickoff party at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

On Saturday, June 30, Youth Librarian Erin Groth hosted this year’s summer reading kickoff party at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library. It was a rockin’ afternoon as staff, volunteers, and WTBBL patrons celebrated this year’s theme of LIBRARIES ROCK! with music, games, prizes, and fun. More than 40 WTBBL patrons are participating in this year’s summer reading program, and their ages range from infants to 18 years old. Summer reading is a by-mail program for WTBBL, with special in-person events…

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