Braille Challenge competitions coming to Seattle and Spokane

Braille Challenge competitions coming to Seattle and Spokane

The 2019 Braille Challenge, an academic competition for students in grades 1-12 to show off their braille literacy and qualify for a national competition during the summer, comes to the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) this Saturday, Jan. 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students can also register until Jan. 23 for a February Braille Challenge WTBBL will host at the Spokane Public Library. At the Jan. 12 event at WTBBL, students from King, Kitsap, and Snohomish…

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Neighbor-state cooperation at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

Neighbor-state cooperation at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

Recently, Joel Henderson of the Oregon Talking Book and Braille Library visited the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) in Seattle to learn more about the audiobook production program.   Both libraries are regional libraries of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) of the Library of Congress. WTBBL is a program of the Washington State Library, which is a division of the Office of Secretary of State. Joel met with each audiobook recording staff…

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If Trees Could Talk: Famous Trees around Washington

If Trees Could Talk: Famous Trees around Washington

We have many historically significant trees in Washington, and many State Archives records document the people and events related to the state’s most historic trees. Although State Archives collections mainly consist of state and local government records, many archival collections also contain photographs. Archivist Jewell Dunn recently turned up one of the last photos of the Medicine Creek tree after it was topped by an arborist to be preserved. The plaque seen in the Medicine Creek tree photo at right…

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Washington State Library brings NewsBank access to home users

Washington State Library brings NewsBank access to home users

Thanks to a partnership with NewsBank, the Washington State Library is now able to provide access to the Access World News and America’s GenealogyBank databases from anywhere with an internet connection. If you have a library card or e-card from the Washington State Library, you can search or browse NewsBank’s collection of world and U.S. newspapers as well as take advantage of the America’s GenealogyBank collection of obituaries, historical books, and historical documents. Just go to Newspapers at the Washington…

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How the 1970 election set Washington’s midterm turnout record

How the 1970 election set Washington’s midterm turnout record

The county-certified election returns for the 2018 General Election came very near setting a new state record for voter participation in a non-Presidential election cycle. Of the 4,362,454 people on Washington’s voter rolls, 71.83 percent cast ballots, which was just under the 71.85 percent turnout for the 1970 midterm General Election. Had just 1,101 more Washingtonians voted, that 48-year-old record would have been eclipsed. That the 1970 turnout stands as the state’s high-water mark is noteworthy in several regards. First, the record…

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Virtual reality’s big 2018 in Washington libraries

Virtual reality’s big 2018 in Washington libraries

In early 2018, the Washington State Library launched a project to bring virtual reality (VR) to the state’s public libraries, in partnership with the University of Washington’s Information School (iSchool) and Oculus. The project’s first phase included six libraries, selected in part for their proximity to Olympia to make technical issues easier to address: the Tukwila Library and Federal Way Library of the King County Library System, Shelton Timberland Library, Hoquiam Timberland Library, the Mount Vernon City Library, and ­­­­the Puyallup Public Library. An additional partnership with…

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How Washington recounts ensure every vote matters

How Washington recounts ensure every vote matters

As 2018’s closely-watched General Election draws near, it may prove useful to read up about how recounts help ensure fair and secure elections for Washington’s candidates and voters. Nearly a decade ago in this space, we were prompted by a handful of very close election outcomes to summarize the basics of the process, which is also described on our Elections page here. Under state law RCW 29A.64.021, recounts are required in elections in which an apparent winner’s margin of victory…

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Check out new Washington Rural Heritage collections

Check out new Washington Rural Heritage collections

Another grant cycle for the Washington Rural Heritage project is wrapping up! The folks at the Washington State Library are working with participants from all over the state to put finishing touches on new and existing digital collections. In the past year, nearly 2,000 items have been added to Washington Rural Heritage, a digital collection hosted by the State Library. Five new collections were created, 10 libraries became project partners, and nearly 20 partnerships were formed between libraries and local…

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Ask an Archivist Day at EWU

Ask an Archivist Day at EWU

Debbie Bahn, the Electronic Records Archivist at the Digital Archives, and Eastern Washington University graduate intern Whitney Wyngaert manned the table at EWU’s John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Cheney on Wednesday, October 3. Bahn, Wyngaert, and EWU archivist Steve Bingo engaged with more than 30 students in two hours, describing the resources and educational opportunities available at the Washington State Archives as well as archival careers. Deputy State Archivist Terry Badger provided an antique “magic lantern” slide projector to use…

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Profile of civic activist Jim Ellis completes new 1968 history exhibit

Profile of civic activist Jim Ellis completes new 1968 history exhibit

A profile of Jim Ellis, regarded as the most visionary civic activist in King County history, is the final chapter in Legacy Washington’s new project: “1968: The Year that Rocked Washington.” His profile — part of a new exhibit at the State Capitol — is now online at the project’s homepage. In 1958, Ellis mobilized a volunteer task force to rescue Lake Washington from the run-off of suburban sprawl. “No Swimming” signs posted along lakefront beaches were famously featured in the…

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