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Watch the Letters About Literature 2018 Awards Ceremony

Watch the Letters About Literature 2018 Awards Ceremony

For the past 13 years, the Washington State Library has sponsored a contest called Letters About Literature. The straightforward contest asks students in grades 4-12 to write a letter to an author about how his or her book changed their view of the world or themselves. We wrote a little about the contest earlier in the year. Each year when the letters written by Washington students arrive, we read them and cannot believe the depth of feeling and insight contained in…

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A pet-tastic day at Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

A pet-tastic day at Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library held a paw-some event Saturday, May 5! Emerald City Pet Rescue, a pet rescue agency based in Seattle, presented its services and brought some special-needs dogs for WTBBL’s youth patrons to meet. Caregivers of the pets from Emerald City Pet Rescue shared the unique stories of the dogs, emphasizing that we all have special circumstances and challenges to overcome. The children learned about the rescue and care of pets with special needs and…

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Institutional Libraries use poetry to promote community

Institutional Libraries use poetry to promote community

A couple weeks ago, a patron of our library at Clallam Bay Corrections Center told me, “I’m not even a reader, but this is a place where I always feel safe.” Sentiments like these, along with brilliant inquires, ideas, and authenticity, inspire me to create innovative programs and challenge me to provide the best services possible in an institutional library setting. On April 25, Washington State Library’s Institutional Library Services held its first ever Poetry Day, in which institutional libraries…

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How libraries serve veterans

How libraries serve veterans

On May 2, the Washington State Library sponsored a First Tuesday webinar titled “Thousands Eligible with Millions Unclaimed.” First Tuesday presentations are funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act.    Presenters from veteran service organizations WestCare Foundation, WAServes, and the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs described the array of social services and benefits available to veterans. Each of the speakers is an expert in coordinating services to veterans and their families….

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Babies, books, and a birthday wish for donations

Babies, books, and a birthday wish for donations

What do you give the librarian who has everything? Books, of course! However, in this tale, the books are not for the librarian but for her program. Anna Nash is a longtime librarian in the Washington State Library’s Institutional Library Services department. One of her favorite programs is “Baby Reads” at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor. It is a storytime that is unique in our state. If a woman is pregnant when she becomes incarcerated and…

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National Library Week inspires inmate art

National Library Week inspires inmate art

The 2018 National Library Week theme was “Where did the Library lead you?” Libraries across America were encouraged to print a graphic, have their patrons add their thoughts and post a selfie on social media. Institutional Library Services (ILS), the branch of the State Library that operates in prisons and state hospitals, wanted to take part in this campaign, but there are strict rules about taking pictures of those facilities’ users. Sue Box from the Airway Heights Corrections Center wanted…

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Western State Hospital’s successful library newsletter

Western State Hospital’s successful library newsletter

It is said that every crisis presents an opportunity. In 2011, the branch libraries of the Washington State Library learned that their book budgets had been severely cut. Magazine subscriptions were reduced, and there was no money for new materials. At the same time, several units at the Western State Hospital were restricted from certain areas on campus that included the library building. Library attendance dwindled. Overnight, I was in charge of a library with nothing new to offer and…

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Federal publications at the Washington State Library

Federal publications at the Washington State Library

The Washington State Library, a division of the Office of Secretary of State, is the Regional Federal Depository Library for Washington and Alaska in the FDLP program administered by the Government Publishing Office. This means that the Library receives almost all of the federal publications produced and distributed by the Government Publishing Office. In addition to providing historical and current information about federal programs and affairs, federal publications offer a surprising amount of state and local information for researchers. Perhaps…

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A National Library Week look at institutional libraries

A National Library Week look at institutional libraries

This week, April 8-14, is National Library Week. Through a partnership between the Washington State Library and the state Department of Corrections, we operate nine institutional libraries for inmates and state hospital patients across the state. Institutional libraries are located inside Airway Heights Corrections Center, Clallam Bay Corrections Center, Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, Stafford Creek Corrections Center, Washington Corrections Center, Washington Corrections Center for Women, and Washington State Penitentiary. There are also libraries located in the Twin Rivers Unit and Washington State Reformatory at the Monroe Correctional Complex. Additionally, interlibrary loan services…

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Letters About Literature: Much more than just a contest

Letters About Literature: Much more than just a contest

What do you get when you combine books, students, writing and a national contest? You get hope for the future and the country, and the knowledge that we are all in good hands for the future. Washington state has participated in the Letters About Literature contest since 2005, and it is a favorite for everyone who has experienced it. What makes it so great is, simply put, the letters. Unlike the book reports we all remember from our school days,…

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