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Washington State Library, Head Coach

Friday, January 31st, 2014 Posted in Articles, For the Public, Library 21 Initiative | Comments Off on Washington State Library, Head Coach

"Go Hawks" @ the Washington State Library

“Go Hawks” @ the Washington State Library

As today is Seahawk blue Friday my mind as I drove south to my job at the Washington State Library was skittering between thinking about the Seahawks and thinking about the Washington State Library (WSL).  Then it occurred to me:

The State Library is like the head coach of a football team. Just as a good coach would, WSL thinks about winning the game—and winning the game is getting the best library services for everyone in the state by serving ALL the libraries in the State.

WSL takes on different roles at different time depending on the needs of the team (citizens of the state)

Sometimes WSL leads

  • IT Academy
  • Library Now (Boopsie app)

Sometimes WSL coaches and mentors other

  • Gadget menageries (staff training), ARSL scholarships, First Tuesdays
  • Central Skagit Rural library district advice on getting organized
  • Trustee wiki
  • Washington Rural heritage (teaches local libraries and historical institutions digitization and cataloguing skills for the presentation

Sometimes the coach runs onto the field and gets right into the games

  • Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, institutional libraries found in hospitals and prison
  • Genealogical resources focused on the Pacific Northwest,
  • Best collection of historical newspapers collection which are a great boon for researcher and students need access to primary sources for  common core requirements.
  • Providing access  through indexing to primary sources needed by businesses (weather data, historical statisitics, population)

A good coach makes certain that everyone has a “level playing field” which WSL does by providing group contracts

  • Statewide database licensing
  • Washington Anytime library
  • Ask-WA

When other teams want to have a statewide “impact”, they need to  “go through”  the Washington State Library: WSL coordinates and collaborates with the Gates Foundation, NoaNet, the Paul G. Allen Foundation, the Department of Early Learning,  the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and  Employment Security among others.

Then just like any good coach WSL cheers when its players do well by using the skills and resources they have been taught.

Here’s a story from one of Washington State’s small public library: the independent municipal library at Sprague

Dear Carolyn,

I’d like to share a story with you about one of my summer reading programs (Editor’s note: Washington State Library supports this). I had a 12 year old boy in my teen program. He is in special education for all of his classes. I encouraged his mom to let him be part of the teen program. I told her to keep track of what he read. I said she could also read to him and that it would count.

He came to our program mostly to check out books and turn in his reading list. He seemed to be wary of interacting with the other teens. At the end of our program we have a pizza party and give out awards. This boy won the top prize for reading the most books and he was very proud.

My daughter has the boy in her class and when school started she said that he was raising his hand and answering the teachers questions. She went on to say that he never used to talk in class. I received a phone call from his mother and she said that because of our program he has a new sense of confidence. He wasn’t fighting her on homework and he was taking the initiative to work on homework first without asking for help. The mother thanked me profusely.

I give credit for the success of the summer reading program to the extra books that I have received during the interlocal grant, (Editor’s note: WSL grant Connecting Libraries through Resource Sharing) where the libraries rotate their collection every three months. We had the newest, coolest books to offer the kids to read that summer. I have an extremely small budget and our library runs mostly on donations. The new books made the teen program. The kids got very excited about new series that are the ‘must reads’. I wanted to thank the Washington State Library for making these grants available.

Judy’s library may be small, but her impact is mighty!

GO TEAM!!!!!!

Native American Bounty

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For the Public, Tribal | 2 Comments »

Not long ago when I visited Judith Moses, the tribal librarian for the Colville Confederated tribes, she shared with me, a great way that she had come up with to promote foods which were the staples of the tribes before the white man arrived.  Judith produces a calendar which contains pictures of the food and recipes as to how to prepare them.

This calendar wasn’t cheap to produce so Judith reached out to the WSU extension service.  They were happy to partner with her tribe to promote healthy eating.  Judith not only found the 12 recipes, she staged and shot the mouth watering photos of each month’s food.  It doesn’t hurt that Judith has a background in art.  Kudos to Judith for a great idea and its superb execution.


















The Long Journey of Ozette Potatoes

Friday, November 16th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For the Public, Tribal | Comments Off on The Long Journey of Ozette Potatoes

Ozette Potatoes
Ozette Potatoes

Not long ago as the WSL tribal library consultant I facilitated the annual meeting of the Washington State tribal librarians.  One of the topics up for discussion was the native foods.  The tribes are making a concerted effort to reintroduce them into tribal members diets both as a way to preserve tribal culture and to promote healthy eating habits.

Tracy Hosselkuss, Lower Elwha tribe, talked about Ozette potatoes.  She said lots of folks in her area were growing this fingerling potatoes which  have a distinctive nutty taste.  Tracy said they are wonderful roasted in a fire pit which is the traditional way of preparing them.

As potatoes always play a starring role in my family’s Thanksgiving dinner I  asked Tracey to share some information about this food which the Makahs preserved and have been enjoying for 200 years.

It turns out that Jesuit Missionaries came up to the Olympic peninsula from Peru in the late 1700’s.  They brought the potatoes with them.  One rainy winter in the rain forest was enough for the missionaries and they left when their ship returned.  The potatoes remained and the Makahs just kept planting–and eating them.  WSU got interested in the the origin of the potatoes and ran some tests to verify the oral history of this breed.  Sure enough genetic tests revealed that the potato was indeed from Peru.

I have included links to recipes and to a place where you could order and grow these Northwest delicacies.

Weiser Family Farms

Recipe Ideas

Pan-fried Ozette Potatoes

Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Brandy Cream Sauce & Roasted Truffled Fingerling Potatoes

Roast Chicken with red Fingerling Potatoes and Yellow Carrots




The Roslyn Library Inhabits a “New” Space.

Friday, October 26th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For the Public, Site Visits | Comments Off on The Roslyn Library Inhabits a “New” Space.

Jail door from original Rosyln city jail

Formerly the library was shoehorned into a series of small rooms on the main floor of the Roslyn City Hall. A combination of civic fundraising and grant writing allowed the City of Roslyn to jack the historic building up and rebuild and renovate the space beneath the main floor.

The City Library now inhabits a spacious portion of that ground floor with the Roslyn City Council Chambers.  These quarters are only temporary as the City intends to move forward with remodeling the original main floor.  When the remodel is finished, the library will move back upstairs.  The downstairs will then become a series of meeting rooms and offices.

Hundreds of hours of local volunteer labor and thousands of dollars of community fundraising made the new furniture, technology and new materials which grace the remodeled Roslyn possible. Highlights of the space:

  • Light pours into the space from the numerous windows.
  • The wooden shelving salvaged from the downtown Seattle Nakumura Court House blends beautifully with the new furniture.
    The bench was a find that is very popular with folks who like to sit while selecting audio and large print books.
  • A wide bench which has quickly become a favorite spot for customers to sit and peruse new adult materials was a local find on Craigslist. Handcrafted from old growth Douglas fir and put together with no nails, it’s even better because the craftsman is a library patron.
  • The local art wall which coexists next to a salvaged jail door from the original City Jail. Picturing America, National Endowment for Humanities grant, was the genesis of Roslyn’s effort to highlight their local artists on a rotating basis.
  • The jail door adds historical flavor with a story on the wall from a former inmate.  The inmate reports that he went out a convenient window to collect his shoes from home and was back in his jail cell without the jailer being any wiser.

Roslyn City library patrons are justly proud of their new library space.

To see more pictures of the Roslyn library, visit our Flickr page!

Spokane Indian Tribal Early Learning Center

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For the Public, News, Site Visits, Tribal | Comments Off on Spokane Indian Tribal Early Learning Center

Pauline Stearns Early Learning Center

Recently I visited the Spokane Indian reservation at Wellpinit, Washington, to conduct training on math and science readiness for the tribe’s early childhood center staff.

The Pauline Stearns Early Learning Center is only a year or so old.  In addition to providing a bright spacious up to date and modern learning center for their children with the latest equipment, the tribe did some other things which impressed me as well.

Mindy Flett, the Child Development manager for the tribe, related that the tribe had used the construction of the Early Learning facility to give individuals who wished to have training in the construction trades experience.  Individuals apprenticed under experienced workers.

One of the “experts” stood out.  He was bas relief artist.  Consequently, the building is rich with art that reflects the children’s heritage and natural surroundings.

The tribe also decided to take advantage of the area’s bountiful sunlight. An entire array of photoelectric cells stands next to the Stearns Center parking lot to power the building.

Photos of the Pauline Stearns Early Learning Cener, the bas relief art and the photoelectric cells are below.


Solar power for the daycare center.

Elk Herd Bas Relief


Moose Bas Relief

Eagle Bas Relief

Forest Bas Relief

Bear Paw Bas Relief

Bear Family Bas Relief

Libraries offer advice on purchasing eReaders

Thursday, August 16th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education | Comments Off on Libraries offer advice on purchasing eReaders

Stacks of books behind an eReader, signifying the number of titles available on the device“If you are going to circulate eReaders to middle schoolers, consider buying “bomb proof” covers for each eReader device.” This is the advice that a school librarian tendered after participating in the eBook Pilot project which concluded in May, 2012. The objective of this pilot project was to distill the experiences of academic, public, and school librarians as they experimented with circulating eReader devices and training staff and the public on how to use these devices.

Their collective wisdom includes information on the following:

Read more on the eBook Pilot Project’s Purchasing Tips page.

Gardens in Unexpected Places

Monday, August 13th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For the Public, Site Visits, Tribal | 2 Comments »

The first sight that greeted Diane Hutchins and me as we parked in the Hibulb Cultural Center lot on the Tulalip Indian reservation was a gorgeous garden.  The individual responsible for the garden, Veronica Leahy, happened to be working on site. Before we entered the Cultural Center for our visit, we chatted with her. Veronica said that this is a collaborative program which has involved the WSU master gardeners and a local community college in addition to the classes she leads.

Besides learning about gardening, classes of thirty or more tribal members have also learned how to cook the abundant produce that results.  The goal of the program is to promote healthy activities to improve tribal health.  The loveliness of the garden itself is a great by product.  Here are more pictures of the garden.

Unexpected Benefits—and Connections

Monday, August 13th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For the Public, Site Visits, Tribal | Comments Off on Unexpected Benefits—and Connections

Carolyn Petersen holding a zucchini from the Hibulb Cultural Center

When I set out to visit the Hibulb Cultural Center recently I had no idea that one of the results would be zucchini cake, zucchini bread and zucchini bars.  That one zucchini I’m holding in the photo produced 10 cups of raw material.  Just as the Tulalip tribe is using this garden as a way to have families work together and learn to cook healthy food together, the zucchini served as a vehicle to put me in touch with my family.  My mother comes from a Langford, South Dakota.  The cookbook I used to find the zucchini recipes resulted as a centennial (1889 to 1989) project of Lutheran church that my mother’s family has attended for several generations.  Flipping through the pages familiar names floated past along with remembrances of whose recipes could be trusted and whose could not! The zucchini resulted in family memories sprouting once more.

Morality and cake pans

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 Posted in For Libraries | Comments Off on Morality and cake pans

If Only We Had Space for This

Even if you don’t have time to read this brief, informative review on the history of rural libraries in the Midwest, open the link up to see the marvellous photo of a circulating cake pan collection!


Proof that libraries are swinging places

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, News | 1 Comment »

Dancing through the stacks

This  prize winning tap dancing video was filmed at the Mill Creek branch of the Sno-Isle libraries. Enjoy!