Diversity in Washington State Library – Institutional Library Services

Diversity in Washington State Library – Institutional Library Services


  • Staffing consists of 16 women, 3 men, and 4 members of the staff have an MLS, and 2 vacancies.
  • Institutions in Washington State with library services provided by ILS include 1 prison that houses women, 9 prisons that house men, 2 state hospitals, and 11 camps that receive ILL service from staff of ILS.
  • Age range of staff 31-65
  • 355 years of combined library experience


The above are just basic facts, which are important, but they don’t really tell you what makes the ILS staff special. Each one of the 19 people of ILS brings a unique perspective to the Washington State Library and the patrons they serve. The previous library experience of the staff includes academic and public libraries, however library experience is not the only thing that these people bring to the table; they each have unique skills and experiences that can be applied to their jobs in institutional libraries. The retired military parachutist, the international nanny, the Army Russian interpreter, the donut maker, the storyteller, the PBX operator, the professional housecleaner, the teacher, the wreath maker, the liquor store clerk, the home day care owner, the laundry clerk, and the person who joined the circus at 25 are only half of what makes the ILS staff special. The other half is all about the teamwork.

For the diversity that is core of the ILS staff, there is even more common ground, the commonality that brings them all together to provide services to their patrons. This common ground allows for the team to work together and to support each member of the team. This support has allowed for the group as whole to create a welcoming environment for their patrons.

As the group has gotten smaller over the years, as many have left and new faces have come in, the basics stay the same: support, teamwork, and great people!


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