WA Secretary of State Blogs

How does the State Library impact your community?

The Washington State Library (WSL) has compiled fact sheets to illustrate funding and support from WSL to libraries across the state. We do this annually organized by legislative and congressional district. Our Congressional District fact sheets are now available online and we expect to have Legislative District fact sheets posted on our website by the end of February.

The Washington State Library is the only agency in Washington that is specifically designated by law to assist libraries and to ensure that residents of the entire state have access to library and information services. WSL achieves these goals using federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. We offer numerous projects supporting the enhancement of library services. We provide consulting services on a variety of topics, and provide grants, subsidies and training to libraries.

Local libraries support the educational and lifelong learning needs of the people in their communities. Their staff participate in statewide projects sponsored by the Washington State Library.  While the Congressional Fact Sheets reflect the projects that are funded by LSTA, the State Library offers much more to Washington residents.

Our Central Library Service is a research library which specializes in Washington State and Pacific Northwest history, culture and government.  Historians and genealogists find our resources invaluable as we have information that is unavailable anywhere else. As mandated by State Law [(RCW) 40.06.010 (4)], the Washington State Library collects publications published by all Washington State agencies that are intended for distribution to the state government of the public in print and electronic format. State publications provide current and historical information about State government.  They are a resource for research into Washington’s past and they are a cornerstone for Washington’s future.

WSL is the only state library that has branch libraries in prisons.  There are libraries and librarians in nine prisons and two state hospitals.  These libraries are a lifeline for the patients and inmates providing a small island of normalcy in their lives.  Inmates find not only recreational materials at the library; many use their time to further their education.  The State Library is partnering with the Department of Corrections and local libraries to help prisoners achieve a successful re-entry.

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) provides a comprehensive, statewide library service for Washington residents unable to read standard print material due to blindness, a visual impairment, deaf-blindness, a physical disability that makes it difficult to hold a book or turn a page, or a reading disability. Books and magazines are available in audio and braille and sent free by mail or downloaded from the website or app. WTBBL offers materials in Spanish, a youth services program, local book production, and more.

WSL offers several digital collections from its many historical resources, including books, maps, newspapers and manuscripts. These collections will continue to grow as more of our resources are scanned, providing a multitude of information to students, teachers, historians and genealogists on Washington’s rich heritage.

All of these services are offered statewide, and each one impacts your community in both small and large ways. For a more detailed analysis of our work in your community return here in a few weeks to find the newly minted Legislative Fact Sheets.

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