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Tag: Institutional Library Services

Big wins for WA libraries in the 2019 legislative session

Big wins for WA libraries in the 2019 legislative session

The 2019 legislative session has ended, and thanks to the hard work of many people, libraries across Washington will benefit immensely. The Office of the Secretary of State, which oversees the Washington State Library, played a huge part in making that success a reality. There is so much good news to report! First, thanks to library advocates everywhere. Lawmakers included eleven rural libraries around the state in the capital budget. Each of these libraries will receive funds to improve their…

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Port Townsend woman fills the shelves of Peninsula prison libraries

Port Townsend woman fills the shelves of Peninsula prison libraries

Virtually every public library in the world wants more funds for buying books. For the Institutional Library Services (ILS) program of the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of Secretary of State, that gap between wish and reality is lessened by Amazon Wish Lists. Through these lists, the ILS staff invites donors to purchase specific new books and materials sought by each library. For the library at Washington Corrections Center for Women, one superstar donor shines brightly: Robin…

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How Washington’s Institutional Libraries provide help and hope

How Washington’s Institutional Libraries provide help and hope

All libraries transform. But as you walk through a prison for the first time, you may realize the unique value a library can provide within such an intense environment. An inmate seeking to transform needs hope and resilience to overcome the challenges of building a better life. But where are hope and resilience in prison? Some find them in the environment’s solitude. Others find these qualities in religion. Others may seek them through education. For any of these paths, the…

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Author Patricia Briggs visits Coyote Ridge Corrections Center

Author Patricia Briggs visits Coyote Ridge Corrections Center

On August 28th, author Patricia Briggs gave a presentation in the library at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center to inmates and the Institutional Libraries Services staff of the State Library, which is a division of the Office of Secretary of State. Nearly 50 inmates attended, and many posed insightful questions about how Briggs approaches the writing process. She said that if you want to be a writer, the first thing you should do is read anything and everything. Her mother was a…

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An era in State Library technology ends

An era in State Library technology ends

This week marks the end of an era at the State Library as we lose Paul Longwell to the happy world of retirement. Paul has been on the IT staff of the State Library since 1989. Paul discussed the other day all the changes he has seen in his years on staff. The day he started, the Washington State Library had two servers with a total storage space of 10 MB, and two total IT staffers. The times have changed…

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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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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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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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A National Library Week look at institutional libraries

A National Library Week look at institutional libraries

This week, April 8-14, is National Library Week. Through a partnership between the Washington State Library and the state Department of Corrections, we operate nine institutional libraries for inmates and state hospital patients across the state. Institutional libraries are located inside Airway Heights Corrections Center, Clallam Bay Corrections Center, Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, Stafford Creek Corrections Center, Washington Corrections Center, Washington Corrections Center for Women, and Washington State Penitentiary. There are also libraries located in the Twin Rivers Unit and Washington State Reformatory at the Monroe Correctional Complex. Additionally, interlibrary loan services…

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