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Exploring the 1918 Influenza Pandemic with the State Library’s Digital Collections

Exploring the 1918 Influenza Pandemic with the State Library’s Digital Collections

In 1918, while Washingtonians were anxiously awaiting for their boys to come home near the end of WWI, reports were coming over from Europe about soldiers dying from a mysterious Spanish Influenza. Reports of “la grippe,” the “flu,” and “pneumonia,” the epidemic was caused by a strain of Pfeiffer’s Bacillus, named after the epidemiologist who discovered it in 1892. By mid-September, before the war was over, it had reached the shores of Washington and at least 23 other states. Warnings…

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WTBBL participates in GiveBIG

WTBBL participates in GiveBIG

On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5th and 6th, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) will be participating in GiveBIG Washington 2020, a 48-hour long online giving campaign that is designed to support Washington state nonprofit organizations. This year, WTBBL’s goal is to raise $10,000 to purchase a 3D printer for their Youth Services Program, launch a Teen Advisory Board, and provide additional program support. WTBBL’s Youth Services program provides books and materials in all formats for children of…

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Community Members Generously Support Our Institutional Library Services

Community Members Generously Support Our Institutional Library Services

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…

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Celebrate National Poetry Month!

Celebrate National Poetry Month!

The Washington State Library celebrates National Poetry Month by bringing poetry to the public throughout April. We hope these resources will help you celebrate the joys and solace that can be found in the beauty of the written word. For Claudia Castro Luna (@wapoetlaureate), Washington State Poet Laureate, providing a voice to a sheltering public is a means for us to offer each other “fortitude, hope, resilience, humor.” Check out her Poems to Lean On series. Poetry Northwest (@poetrynw) is…

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Central Library Services — From Our Homes to Yours

Central Library Services — From Our Homes to Yours

Like many Washingtonians, staff at the Washington State Library are adjusting to working from home. This means that those of us who spend our days working directly with our customers are missing our interactions with them, and wishing we had access to the non-digitized books and newspapers that make our collection so uniquely valuable. In these days of pandemic however, we all have to make do. In our case, we’re still able to respond to most email inquiries — though…

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In the time of COVID-19, AskWA

In the time of COVID-19, AskWA

AskWA is the Statewide Virtual Reference Cooperative — a team of over 50 academic and public libraries across our state who band together to help provide email and 24/7 chat reference services with the help of a global network of librarians. Never has there been a more relevant time for virtual reference services for library users across our state and our globe, as in person reference services have become impossible due to health and safety concerns. Though many AskWA librarians…

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Wherefore telephone books?

Wherefore telephone books?

It wasn’t that long ago that telephone books played a fairly significant role in our daily lives. Whether you used one as a booster seat at dinner, or you were looking up the number of a neighbor or local business, telephone books were an incredibly handy tool. One could argue that they were the single most important resource about a local community before the internet. To preserve the wealth of information contained in old telephone books and the precise “moment…

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2020 Regional Braille Challenges

2020 Regional Braille Challenges

It was a rainy, windy day in Eastern Washington, but the weather didn’t stop talented braille readers from coming out to compete in the first of two annual Regional Braille Challenges hosted by The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL). Cheney Middle School provided the perfect location for fun and friendly competition among the local 3rd graders participating this year. The Braille Challenge, which WTBBL hosts every year, is a national competition created by the Braille Institute to celebrate…

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A Touch of Braille

A Touch of Braille

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library is presenting a free introduction to braille workshop Tuesday, February 4 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Library’s conference room, hosted by WTBBL volunteers Keiko Namekata and Dana Marmion. If you’ve ever wondered “What is braille? What can braille do for me? Would I be able to learn braille? ,” this class is a great opportunity to get answers to your questions or just satisfy your curiosity! Braille is critically important…

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Washington State Library honors Native American Heritage Month

Washington State Library honors Native American Heritage Month

Earlier this fall, a team of WSL staff members worked together to create a few displays in the library to honor Native American Heritage Month.  As a state and a federal depository, the Library houses many documents of historical value and significance, such as tribal treaties and maps. Highlights from our Pacific Northwest collection include poetry, fiction and nonfiction by Indigenous authors as well as books on Native art traditions and artists. Many of Washington’s Indigenous communities also publish their…

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