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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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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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Kittitas Ruralite Magazine provides a glimpse into the past

Kittitas Ruralite Magazine provides a glimpse into the past

Ruralite Magazine was first published in 1954 with “a spirit of public service and forward-looking sensibility.” But the magazine was not exclusive to Kittitas County as it was published by public utility districts across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Montana, and Alaska. Each state had multiple Ruralite versions specific to particular counties or regions, and by 1977, there were about 38 different editions going out to 157,000 households across the Northwest. This personalization of the magazine provides a unique window…

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In memoriam: Sid McAlpin, State Archivist from 1963-1994

In memoriam: Sid McAlpin, State Archivist from 1963-1994

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of Sid McAlpin, State Archivist from 1963 to 1994. To those who worked in the Washington State Archives in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Sid was not only a leader, but also a friend and mentor. Sid’s work as State Archivist was significant and extensive. The following are only some of his many great accomplishments and contributions. Moved the Records Committees from Destruction to Records Retention…

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History Friday: Stevens County 1966 Special Census

History Friday: Stevens County 1966 Special Census

The 18th United States Census, conducted in 1960, was the first U.S. Census in which the questionnaires were mailed to households, as opposed to paid, in-person enumerators who visited each house. Previous census enumerations used mail-in questionnaires in a limited way, but the 1960 Census relied very heavily on self-reporting. The census determined the U.S. population was 179,323,175. Over the next six years, however, there were many challenges to the census from communities which felt they were under-counted, and short-changed…

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History Friday: The King of Puget Sound Bootleggers

History Friday: The King of Puget Sound Bootleggers

On a crisp March morning in 1920, Seattle Police Lieutenant Roy Olmstead and his colleague, Sergeant T.J. Clark, treaded the dock at Edmonds’ Meadowdale Marine in the caliginous hours leading dawn. A crew of nine bootleggers hauled a rum-running boat’s capacity of Canadian whiskey to six nearby trucks, prepared to furnish Seattle with the contraband in the wake of Prohibition’s inception. Lt. Olmstead and Sgt. Clark had a watchful eye on the operation, but they were not there to arrest…

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Giving New voice to Thomas Handforth, a Northwest artist with global perspective

Giving New voice to Thomas Handforth, a Northwest artist with global perspective

With grant support from the Washington State Library, the Tacoma Public Library (TPL) recently completed a year-long digitization project to preserve and share the work of artist Thomas Handforth (1897-1948). Best known for his children’s book Mei Li, which won the 1939 Caldecott Medal for illustration, Handforth was born in Tacoma, and studied art at the University of Washington. Some of his early etchings and anatomical drawings stem from when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1918, serving in…

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Building Community with Book Clubs

Building Community with Book Clubs

WSL Community Outreach Librarian, Sara Peté, recently took part in a panel on “Building Community with Book Clubs” at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association’s annual tradeshow — an event that brings hundreds of book industry professionals together. Davina Morgan-Witts of BookBrowse and sweet pea Flaherty of King’s Books Tacoma shared their extensive knowledge on the wide, and sometimes wild, world of book clubs. Morgan-Witts co-authored the 56 page report “The Inner Lives of Book Clubs” and Flaherty coordinates over a…

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Everything Old is New Again

Everything Old is New Again

Whether you are sewing from scratch or upcycling, we’ve got you covered! In honor of National Sewing Month and recent worldwide interest in upcycling clothes, we’d like to share some little-known resources here at The Washington State Library. A quick keyword search of our library catalog for the word ‘sewing’ shows a surprising number of books from our State Documents collection available to check out. These may help you with your next project. And of course you can peruse historical…

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Librarian of Congress visits Washington libraries

Librarian of Congress visits Washington libraries

On Tuesday, July 30th, Washington State Library Youth Services Consultant Siri Hiltz and Community Outreach Librarian Sara Peté had the good fortune of visiting the beautiful Camas Public Library for a chance to learn from the nation’s top librarian — Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress (LoC).  U.S. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler brought Dr. Hayden to the 3rd District to help spread the word about the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program, the Veterans History Project, and the LoC’s incredible…

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