Unity Through Disaster: Yakima’s Cleanup after the Eruption of Mount St. Helens

Unity Through Disaster: Yakima’s Cleanup after the Eruption of Mount St. Helens

May 18, 1980, a day many Pacific Northwesterners vividly remember, was the infamous day Mount St. Helens erupted and left much of the state in complete darkness. This day was coined “Black Sunday,” and during the following week, nearly 200,000,000 cubic yards of soot and ash were dumped across Washington and covered nearly half the state.[1] The City of Yakima was in the direct path of the ash plume. To make matters worse, the volcano would continue to emit ash…

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A Pandemic Hero

A Pandemic Hero

The “Spanish flu” pandemic that exploded in 1918, near the end of World War I, killed at least 50 million people worldwide—some say twice that. President Trump’s grandfather was among the 675,000 Americans who succumbed to the lethal influenza. Legacy Washington’s new book, Ahead of the Curve: Washington Women Lead the Way 1919-2020, features a heroic Seattle physician on the front lines of the pandemic. Dr. Mabel Seagrave lived by the motto of Wellesley College, her alma mater: “Not to…

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Get to know WTBBL’s audiobook production in their new webinar

Get to know WTBBL’s audiobook production in their new webinar

On April 29th, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library’s (WTBBL) Director, Danielle Miller; Audio Book Production Supervisor, John Pai; and Assistant Manager, Alycia Ensminger, hosted a webinar, Getting to Know WTBBL’s Audiobook Production, for the Washington State Library. This webinar discussed how an audiobook is produced: starting with selection of materials, the narrators and narration process, production and editing of recordings, and the final stages of production as staff prepare the audiobook for circulation. The speakers gave an overview of how…

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Paving the Vote-By-Mail Path

Paving the Vote-By-Mail Path

As we celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage in the United States, it has become apparent that Washington state has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to voting rights and processes, and others have benefitted from seeing us set the pace and disprove false perceptions. Over the last few decades, utilization and preference for Vote-By-Mail (VBM) elections has substantially increased to the point where in 2018 general elections across the country, over 31 million voters, or 25.8%…

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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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