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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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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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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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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Jimi Hendrix’s Family History and Path to Seattle

Jimi Hendrix’s Family History and Path to Seattle

It’s hard to believe master guitarist Jimi Hendrix would have turned 77 this year. He has been gone almost twice as long as he was alive. Just 27 years old when he died in 1970, his musical career — although short — has had one of the most lasting and profound effects on guitarists today. With the 50th anniversary of Woodstock just passed, we are again reminded of Jimi’s guitar style. His guitar sounds are quickly recognizable and argued to…

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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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The Local Treasure of Garfield County

The Local Treasure of Garfield County

Imagine this: It’s deep winter in the southeast corner of Washington state — wheat country. Blowing snow builds on the icy country roads and two-lane highways. Cell phones don’t exist because it’s 1970. You’re worried you will arrive late for jury duty; but when you get to Pomeroy, you discover court has been canceled for the day. Oh no! Enter Doris Landkammer, Garfield County Clerk. Known for going above and beyond her official duties, she fills you with hot coffee…

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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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