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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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Our Prison Libraries help inmates to re-enter society

Our Prison Libraries help inmates to re-enter society

 On February 24, 2015 Library Associate Jean Baker participated in a “Help and Program Fair” at The Washington State Penitentiary.   This is an annual event with the intent of reinforcing positive changes in the prison environment and is held in response to the establishment of the Group Violence Reduction Strategy.   The purpose of this event is to present all of the programs available to inmates and to help them choose different and more productive paths while serving their sentences.   This…

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Why Do We Need a State Library?

Why Do We Need a State Library?

To quote a prominent library administrator: “Every library is designed to serve a specific community: Public libraries serve the people of a specific city or county. Academic libraries serve the faculty, staff, and students of a specific college or university. School libraries serve the students and teachers of a specific school. Medical libraries serve doctors, nurses, and patients at a specific hospital. Law libraries serve the attorneys and staff of a specific law firm. Each library is designed to add value…

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A Long Wait

A Long Wait

I was told on 12/3/12 that the WCCW State Library branch and the WCCW law library were going to trade spaces. On 12/10/12 we closed the branch library and began to pack up and move 542 boxes of books to storage in a warehouse on the grounds. We were told the transition would take 30 to 60 days. I relocated to a dismal cubicle in another building. As it turned out the original estimate of 60 days turned into 90…

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Reflections from WSP Library, July 2013

Reflections from WSP Library, July 2013

My job in the Washington State Library Branch at the Washington State Penitentiary has exposed me to an area of librarianship I never would have thought I was suited for.   When I started at the penitentiary library I was green as they say but over the last five years I’ve learned a lot about how to provide library resources to a unique population of individuals.  The inmates are from many situations in their lives and those who take advantage of…

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Reed wraps up prison library visits

Reed wraps up prison library visits

After 12 years in office, Sam Reed has completed his mission of visiting all of the State Library’s prison and hospital branches. The Washington State Library partners with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Social and Health Services to provide library services to inmates in adult correctional facilities and patients in Western State and Eastern State adult psychiatric hospitals at Steilacoom and Medical Lake.  There are branch libraries in two DSHS facilities and nine in prison facilities. Reed’s last stop…

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Laura Sherbo honored at ALA

Laura Sherbo honored at ALA

One of the first sessions I attended was the Unconference (wonderful, by the way).  At the Unconference I was talking with one of the other attendees about this being our first ALA and she said, “Oh wait! Someone forwarded this to me this morning.  There is free food on Saturday! Give me your phone number and I’ll send you the information.” Lo and behold it was the ASCLA Awards Ceremony.  Initially I was a little indignant.  How could these moochers…

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Laura Sherbo receives ASCLA Leadership and Professional Achievement Award

Laura Sherbo receives ASCLA Leadership and Professional Achievement Award

This prestigious award is presented to one or more ASCLA members (personal or organizational) exemplifying leadership and achievement in one or more of the following areas: consulting, library cooperation, networking, statewide services and programs and state library development. Congratulations Laura! Read more at http://ascla.ala.org/blog/2012/04/2012-asclaleadershipaward/. Please follow and like us:

Emcee at Poetry Reading at Washington Corrections Center for Women

Emcee at Poetry Reading at Washington Corrections Center for Women

On May 10th, 2012 the WCCW Library hosted a poetry reading. Laura Sherbo and Doug Gelis planned the event and invited 3 poets to come and read their and other poet’s poems. 70 inmates signed up to attend and 35 showed up to listen to poetry read. This was held in the WCCW Visit Room.   The first poet to read was Kathleen Flenniken. Kathleen is the current Poet Laureate of Washington State. The second poet to read was Merna…

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Library Snapshot Day 2012 Numbers Are In

Library Snapshot Day 2012 Numbers Are In

The prison and psychiatric hospital libraries were happy to participate in the Library Snapshot Day again this year.  With the libraries open an average of 4.75 hrs for the day there were 1,033 visitors across the state.  Check out the rest of the numbers here.   Also checkout the pictures on our Facebook Page.   Please follow and like us: