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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Time to sign up to run on the 2018 ballot

Time to sign up to run on the 2018 ballot

Although fervent politicking began weeks ago in races across the state, the official start of election season arrives Monday, with the beginning of Candidate Filing Week 2018. From May 14-18, candidates for federal, state, and local offices from county commissioner to U.S. Senator must register with county elections offices or the Office of Secretary of State to get their names onto ballots for this year’s elections cycle. The 596 races on this year’s Washington ballots include legislative races in every…

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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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Al Swift and Ralph Munro: How motor voter went national

Al Swift and Ralph Munro: How motor voter went national

Tacoma native and former U.S. Rep. Al Swift, who died April 20 at 82, was a national leader in expanding voter participation across the political spectrum. The motor-voter bill President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993 was authored by Swift, as was the version that had been vetoed by President George Bush in 1992. In a career that also included the legislative victories of restored Amtrak service between Seattle and British Columbia and mandatory handicapped access to polling places,…

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Signatures and state law: The enduring power of the pen

Signatures and state law: The enduring power of the pen

Even though the routine act of signing your name to authorize credit-card charges will soon become history, it is perhaps premature to consider the pen-and-paper signature doomed to obsolescence. Across the U.S., government at all levels remains legally reliant on hand-signed names in an immense number of ways. Federally, you might be able to electronically sign a tax return for the Internal Revenue Service, but a U.S. Passport and a Social Security card each require a written signature. The rationale goes back…

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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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