WA Secretary of State Blogs

When the going gets tough, the tough get creative

Kathleen Benoun, long time Library Associate at the Western State Hospital library, had an idea. For over thirty years Kathleen has delivered excellent service to the hospital patients.  ddwIn the past Kathleen used to take the library to the patrons, presenting programs ranging from trivia contests to poetry reading. However over the time that she has worked at the Hospital library, like librarians across the nation, Kathleen has had to learn to do more with less.  As the solo librarian she is no longer able to visit the wards.  So let’s get back to the idea.  In January of 2011 she started writing a monthly library newsletter which the hospital print shop produced and the mail room distributed.  Kathleen reports:

My original goal was to highlight books and films in our collection by themes.  Often, we added new materials that I wanted to advertise immediately.  Thus, the monthly newsletter became a weekly in 2013.   Later, I began to add some historical information about the hospital.  The response has been good.  Staff and patients contact me to request the materials highlighted in the newsletter.

If you’ve ever written a weekly newsletter you know that coming up with an idea every week can be a challenge so here’s where the creative part comes in.  As of January 2015 the Dewey Digest Weekly – “50 states edition” was born.  Each week Kathleen highlights a state pulling together books, films and music that salute the state of the week. There’s a little bit of state background information (what librarian doesn’t want to impart a tidbit of knowledge when they have the chance), followed by books, musical artists and movies associated with that state.  Is it working? ddw2 Kathleen reports that she definitely notices an uptick in requests for materials highlighted in the newsletter.  Kathleen’s newsletters are a fun and visual way of continuing to take the library to the patrons.  Fifty states… well that takes care of 2015.  We can’t wait to see the ingenious idea Kathleen comes up with for next year’s newsletter.


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