Troy and Cheryl LaBrum have a passion for giving.
A devout family, they donate often to local churches and missions, but their generosity doesn’t stop there; for years, they have also been donating extensively to the various prison and hospital libraries that make up the Institutional Library Services (ILS) program of the Washington State Library.
Hearing of ILS from a loved one who experienced the benefits firsthand, Troy and Cheryl decided to seek out a way to contribute to the program.
Troy reached out to the branch librarian at the Washington State Reformatory to ask what books they might need, and the institution created an Amazon wishlist of items for him to purchase, this became the prototype for ILS’s current wish lists.
From there, he formed a relationship with ILS that has benefited all 11 branches within the program, providing everything from books and magazines to monetary support.
Recently, the LaBrums donated a fully-outfitted audiovisual station, complete with state-of-the-art QLED television and Blu-ray player, to the Eastern State Hospital (ESH) branch library. The ESH branch hopes that the A/V station will provide an alternative to traditional library materials that even the most reluctant library user can enjoy.
The Library’s first program with the A/V station was January’s Library Film Day, where patients watched the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and then discussed the central tenets of Mr. Roger’s career and philosophy.
The continuing support of donors like the LaBrums enable ILS to achieve their mission to provide high-quality library services to their patrons, and improves access to resources for individuals experiencing incarceration or hospitalization throughout the state of Washington.
For Troy and Cheryl, it all comes down to one thing: fellowship. Troy sees the recipients of their generosity as his “brothers and sisters”, and he feels it is his duty to help them however he can. After all — they’re family.
The most important thing we’re doing for our patrons during these uncertain times is making the difficult decision of closing our doors to them, so as not to provide a gathering place where we or anybody else can serve as vectors to infect others.
To help offset the closure of our libraries, we distributed a backlog of hundreds of donated books and DVDs to the prisons and hospitals. With the cooperation of institution staff, we are also collecting and distributing resources to share with our patrons for National Poetry Month.
You can donate to the ILS program by visiting the Washington State Library donations page here:
And you can find out how to purchase books directly for ILS branches by clicking here:
ILS has a myriad of ideas for ongoing programs that could use some support this Library Giving Day. Donations could support, for example, an expansion of our current collections; branches especially expressed a desire to provide more Spanish language materials to our patrons, as well as the purchase of additional magazine subscriptions. ILS librarians also suggested that donations could support the maintenance of our collections through the purchasing of mending materials and equipment.
A variety of promotional materials, ranging from professional printing and display materials to cameras to take pictures of library programming, were also mentioned as valuable ways to support library services. An expansion of audiovisual services is another area that ILS librarians would like to see supported; in particular, the addition of projectors/screens, CD listening stations, and additional A/V collection materials (CDs/DVDs) would allow ILS branches to provide a broader range of recreational and educational programming.
Several ILS staff requested funds to pay speakers fees and/or provide travel compensation to community members who present in our libraries; these speakers often travel at their own expense and thus are frequently limited geographically. If the sky is the limit on these requests, ILS librarians also aspire to bring in more and higher-profile authors and other speakers to present to our patrons, a goal which would require a significant amount of donor support.