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All Aboard for Kindergarten!

Friday, February 16th, 2018 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Training and Continuing Education | No Comments »

Picture of a school bus and a blue sky with cloudsFrom the desk of Carolyn Petersen

In the spirit of it takes a village to raise a child Washington libraries offer preschool storytimes because attending storytime has been proven to increase the kindergarten readiness skills a child needs.

This spring the Washington State Library will debut a series of trainings, All Aboard for Kindergarten, around the state.  The trainings are intended to strengthen youth services staff skills around the five key early literacy practices.

Sing, talk, read, write and play are all essential building blocks for early literacy.

The Every Child Ready Read program which was developed by the Public Library Association identifies those five practices as essential.

Sing: When an adult sings with a child, it slows down language so children can hear the smaller sounds in the words and learn new words.

Talk: A conversation between adults and children should feature open ended questions that open up a child’s world to more than the here and now.  Children should be encouraged to tell and retell stories themselves.

Read: Shared or interactive reading is the single most important activity to enable children to be ready to read.  Reading with children on a regular basis while they are young in an important predictor of success in school as well as the practice of reading itself.

Write: Drawing helps with fine and gross motor skills. Drawing shapes and letters and pictures prepares a child for abstract concept and connects spoken language to abstract ideas detailed in written language.

Play: When a child plays with a toy, they learn its properties (it is hard, soft, make noise, taste good). As they mature they begin to test out roles (You be the policeman, I’ll be the teacher) as they play. Language and many other skills are enhanced through play.

The trainings are also an opportunity for youth services staff to invite their local early childhood workers to come with them and refresh skills together.

Registration for the six hour workshop is now open.  Workshops will be held at Anacortes Public Library, Colville Library, Longview Public Library, the Kennewick branch of the Mid-Columbia Library, Neal Public Library and at the North Central Regional Library Service Center in Wenatchee.

Stars credit from the Department of Early Learning will be available.


“Connecting Washington through the power of libraries”

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »

Picture of the Washington State Library Building with the words "WSL Presesnts: News from Washington Libraries."

Our mission statement is a short and simple, yet powerful statement of what we do here at the Washington State Library.  We see ourselves as an umbrella that hovers over all the wonderful libraries in our state, offering unique resources, expertise, training opportunities and grants which help you fulfill our common goal: to provide excellent service to our states residents.  We look with amazement at all that happens in our state; the programs, resources and support you each provide to your community.

One small role that we can fill is to amplify the work that each and every library in this state does for their patrons.  In the past we used to collect library news from around the state and send out an email called “Clippings”.  A year ago, however, we moved to an online platform that we named “WSL presents: News from Washington Libraries.”  We constantly comb the web and your social media sites to try to learn what is happening at your library and every two weeks a new issue is published (the first and third Friday of the month.)  Despite our best efforts however we know there is so much going on that we miss.  So this is a call for help. What’s happening at your library?  Maybe you have a remodel going on, perhaps some particularly cute pictures from Storytime, news of a really special author reading that occurred?  How about one of those golden handwritten notes of praise from a patron… you get the idea.  We would love to help you share your news.  If you send your stories to Staci Phillips (staci.phillips@sos.wa.gov ) she’ll include it in the next issue. And while you’re at it, head on over to the paper, and read all the great Washington Library news, and while you’re there, sign up to have future issues delivered right to your inbox twice a month.

How your donations to the Institutional Libraries makes a difference.

Friday, February 2nd, 2018 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services | Comments Off on How your donations to the Institutional Libraries makes a difference.

Picture of a bookshelf with the covers facing forward.

In two weeks 45 books and 2 DVDs have been donated to Institutional Library Services for their ILS Reads Program. Thank you to everyone who donated!”

The Clallam Bay Corrections Center is trying something different.  They are reconsidering the usefulness of solitary confinement.  According to an article in the Seattle Times, “Being alone in your own head 23 hours a day in a 48-square-foot poured-concrete cell makes, inmates say, the mad madder and the bad even worse.”  Clallam Bay is using a new approach to navigating the intervention of behavioral barriers, developing a program called the “Intensive Transition Program (ITP)” and the library is a contributing piece of this program.

Their Operations manual describes the program like this.  “The Intensive Transition Program at Clallam Bay Corrections Center strives to break the cycle of personal dysfunction through supportive discipline, staged socialization, targeted integrated programming, and progressive development of self-control” (ITP Philosophy and Operations, p1).

So what exactly does this mean? Think of the ITP as a transition.  When an inmate shows a desire to change they are considered for selection in the ITP program. Restrictions are slowly and carefully lifted and a small suite of privileges open up that have previously been denied.  Participating in a library program can demonstrate their commitment to disciplining themselves and regulating their behavior.

Right now, the Washington State Library is partnering with the ITP to provide a weekly book discussion program.  This consists of discussion around world issues. Participants are presently reading “Persepolis,” a story about a young woman experiencing a revolution. The book has inspired conversations around the critical issues presented. Some discussion includes, the role of politics in school, the ways that revolutions manifest, how seeking power disrupts equity, and the lens that children create for the world around them in the face of trauma.  This book has elicited several interesting responses. One person said, “There are always people that are deprived of their rights. Revolutions are a way for people to speak up and seek change for the better. Revolutions are needed for continual change to occur.” Another tied the book in to his own life, and his own experience. “Teaching about a broad range of politics in schools is really important, I want to know that my daughter has a chance to learn about as many different perspectives as possible.”

This book discussion is in its early stages, and is seeking to create a meaningful environment that promotes prosocial behavior, critical analysis, and self-growth.  In order for this important program to expand we need more titles which meet the needs of this group.  If you feel like donating to this very worthy cause we have made it easy through the use of an  Amazon wish list.   Even if donating is not within your means take a look at the list.  You will very likely be surprised at the wide range of books and materials that have been requested.

Announcing a new home for the Washington Center for the Book!

Friday, January 26th, 2018 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Washington Center for the Book | Comments Off on Announcing a new home for the Washington Center for the Book!

Scissors cutting a ribbon over the webpage for the Washington Center for the Book
















Way back in May we made an announcement that the Seattle Public Library (SPL) and the Washington State Library (WSL) were joining forces to grow the Washington Center for the Book (WCB) into a powerful statewide program. Since then we have been diligently working behind the scenes to create our digital space. Today we launch our new website.  Ta-Dah!

The Washington Center for the Book, is an affiliate of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book (CFB). Every state in the union, along with the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands, have a CFB and each state runs their program slightly differently. So what is Washington’s take? To understand you might start by reading our mission statement.

The Washington Center for the Book promotes literacy and a love of books, reading, and libraries. We celebrate Washington’s robust literary heritage and shine a spotlight on the contribution of reading and libraries in strengthening communities and in fostering civic engagement.

High flying words and goals —  but what does this really mean? We believe that our state is home to exceptionally talented writers. We have a long history of a love of literature, in fact our largest city, Seattle, is almost always included in lists of most literate cities in America, and was named an international City of Literature by UNESCO in 2017. Maybe it’s all the rain in the westside and snow in the eastside that keeps us indoors and reading in the winter, but then our gorgeous summers also have us reading outside.  Maybe we just plain love books. The WCB’s goal is to nourish our writers and our readers, creating programs that form a bridge between the two. That bridge? Our wonderful Washington libraries, of course.

We are fortunate that SPL and WSL each brought a strong program to our partnership. The Seattle Public Library has hosted the Washington State Book Awards since 2001. Our website contains information about past winners as well as information about submitting a book for future consideration.

The Letters About Literature contest (LAL) has been run by the State Library since 2005. LAL is a contest that encourages young readers to read a book and write a letter to the author about how the book changed their view of the world or themselves. The letters are powerful, funny and sometimes heartbreaking. These letter writers may become our future Washington authors.

On top of these existing programs we are devising ways to bring our state’s writers into the public eye. Our front page has a carousel of blog posts that will point you to newly published books, or information about awards that WA authors have won.

The “For Writers” section contains information about writer’s workshops and conferences as well as an excellent list of books for aspiring writers.

We are working on a variety of programs and ideas which we will announce as they become reality. If you love books and you love libraries we hope you will visit us often.


Learning through play

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education | Comments Off on Learning through play

five boys playing with Lego robots on the floor.With Microsoft, Amazon, Google and many other companies based in Washington we are a technology state. Washington State is endlessly hungry for skilled technology workers and STEM learning is an important component of educating our future workforce.  The State Library, seeing this need, has invested in many STEM kits which we circulate to interested libraries around Washington. Coding and robotics are work skills that are highly prized, and one of our original, and very popular kits, Lego Mindstorms teaches these skills.  Purchased in 2016 these kits have so far visited 28 libraries and have a waiting list that stretches out until well into 2018.

While endlessly fun, fascinating, and educational, Lego Mindstorms also have a steep learning curve.  At the beginning of the program, Joe Olayvar and Evelyn Lindberg developed a hands on training, signed up interested libraries and hit the road.  Travelling around the entire state, Joe and Evelyn visited 43 public, Tribal, School and Academic libraries, training staff in 44 different Legislative districts. The trainings were a huge success with comments such as, “Great example of how to do a Mindstorms program.”, “Excellent training – I want MORE!” and “I wished there was an hour of just free play.”

As popular as the trainings were, the kits soon had a waiting list that was over two years long.  Joe realized that by the time they arrived at some of the later scheduled libraries, the person running the program might need to learn all over again, or might not even work there anymore. Being a problem solver by nature he set out to do just that, solve the problem.  A comprehensive LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3 Programming Basics tutorial was created complete with accompanying YouTube videos.  While he was creating this resource, Joe thought of it as support for Washington libraries. Little did he know that his work would be discovered and spread widely.  The first to contact him was COSUGI .  They were so impressed by the tutorial that they are bringing Joe and Evelyn to Atlanta to do a training at their annual conference in April.  Recently a Community College instructor in Oregon contacted Joe asking permission to use the resource.  Joe regularly receives calls about the tutorials, which are being used around the nation.  We can only imagine what will happen after their April conference presentation!

Thanks to this effort, the youth of our state, and now the nation, are being exposed to robotics education and coding in a way that is so fun and hands-on they don’t even know they’re learning.  You’re welcome Tech industry.

Keeping our library workforce well trained.

Friday, January 12th, 2018 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Training and Continuing Education | Comments Off on Keeping our library workforce well trained.

people sitting at a table with laptopsOne of the roles we take very seriously at the State Library is making sure that the library workforce in Washington is kept up to date with the latest, and greatest information about the skills needed to be a success in the 21st century.  We do this in a variety of ways, First Tuesdays webinars, specific in person trainings offered at sites around the state, professional development grants, support for WebJunction and subscriptions to Skillsoft and Lyrasis trainings .

The first of these, the First Tuesdays webinars, are accessible to anyone in the state or even the world.  We host a webinar every month on a wide variety of topics, selected to be both timely and forward thinking as well as appeal to a broad range of library staff.  Recent topics , “Let’s talk about race in Storytimes” to “Public data and privacy protections”, “Legal Reference – The Basics” give you an idea of the range of topics we cover.  People from all over the country and even outside of the U.S. attend these webinars. All the webinars are archived on our YouTube channel allowing anyone to watch, at a time that is convenient to them.

We also offer live trainings at libraries around the state.  A couple of upcoming trainings are “Self-Talk and Emotional Intelligence: Improving your Work Narrative” and “Screen Scene: Best Practices for Using Screen Media with Young Children” . These trainings are offered at no charge to library employees.  simply register, show up and learn.

Every year we work with our teacher librarians to identify their specific needs for training.  Last year WSL trained over 350 teacher librarians in Digital Citizenship offering trainings at dozens of sites around the state.

Professional Development grants are an amazing, and not very well known, resource for Washington library staff. Any individual who works in a Washington library at least 10 hours a week can apply for a grant.  By applying for a PD grant, organizations can help their staff pursue special interest topics by attending conferences, workshops or seminars. In addition organizations may apply to bring a specific training into their library. Most libraries who receive one of the organizational grants open up the training to other local libraries.

We certainly love WebJunction here at the state library. WSLhas supported them from the very beginning and continues to support this incredible growing library of online trainings.  If you’ve ever taken a WebJunction course you know what high quality webinars and trainings they offer.

Skillsoft is a collection of resources specifically designed for continuing education in libraries. Classes are offered in communication, interpersonal skills, leadership, management and a whole suite of technology applications.

In short, if you want to learn it, we probably provide a means to get you there.  Please explore some of these links. We hope you will take advantage of all we have to offer.

State Library’s Annual Report Showcases Successes.

Thursday, January 4th, 2018 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Training and Continuing Education, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library | Comments Off on State Library’s Annual Report Showcases Successes.

From the desk of Jeff Martin

Every year, the Washington State Library (WSL) reports on its use of Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding to the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). On December 21, 2017, the LSTA State Programs Report for use of the 2016 LSTA award was submitted to IMLS for their review, comment, and approval. The year’s report is 126 pages in length.

Reporting is a team effort by all those who manage and support projects which use LSTA funding. The result is a report on 35 projects and 258 grant awards with total expenditures of $3,262,304. The Washington State Library, and the Washington library community which participated in these projects and grants, matched this amount of federal funding with $2,914,368 in state and local funding.

You may ask how this funding is used to support Washington libraries and the residents of the state…the following are a few examples:

  • Statewide projects such as Statewide Database Licensing and the Ask-WA: The Statewide Virtual Reference Cooperative allow groups of libraries within Washington to work cooperatively to lower costs or provide higher levels of service. In the previous decade it was estimated that Statewide Database Licensing allowed all types of libraries working cooperatively to save $18,000,000 over the cost of individually subscribing to these services. The Ask-WA online virtual reference service provides 24/7 coverage for Washington residents who have questions and need answers. This service is in cooperation with an international cooperative of libraries. During their business hours local libraries answer questions from Washington residents. In addition if a person is awake at 3:00 a.m., has a question and can’t find an answer, they can submit the question to the cooperative. It may be, for example, that a librarian in Australia initially replies. The question is then forwarded to the person’s local library for follow-up if needed during their normal business hours.
  • AskWA logoOther statewide projects such as Washington Rural Heritage, and Washington Digital Newspapers focus on providing access to digitized primary sources documenting the early culture, industry, and community life of Washington State. Washington Rural Heritage contains approximately 30,000 items from 148 different cultural institutions throughout the state. This collection represents 49 libraries and their partners including numerous historical societies and museums. Washington Digital Newspapers consists of online access to roughly 45 different newspapers published between 1875 and 1922. Digital access to some of these newspapers includes only a small number of issues and for others hundreds or thousands of issues.
  • Youth Programs logoStill other projects such as Youth Services, Early Learning, and Summer Reading primarily support younger library users. The Washington State Library is a member of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), a national cooperative of state and local libraries that work together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children, teens, and even adults. The Washington State Library also distributes STEM/STEAM kits to public and tribal libraries to ensure that children and teens throughout the state are provided with hands-on experiences with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that engage their interest, and provide exploration of possible career paths in a fun and rewarding way. The eight STEM kits were rotated among libraries over 308 times during the year with a total attendance of over 3,300.

First Tuesdays logoAnother focus the Washington State Library throughout the year is providing training to library staff using Professional Development Grants, Online Training Resources, and face-to-face training experiences. Training and professional development grants allow local library staff to enhance knowledge and skills and in turn better serve their patrons. First Tuesdays is one example of a monthly hour-long webinar produced by the Washington State Library. This webinar focuses on issues of interest to the Washington library community. Many other opportunities are available to library staff throughout the year. During the last federal fiscal year over 1,100 training seats were filled by library staff from all types of libraries.

Did you know that the Washington State Library provides library services in nine of the Department of Correction prisons and also Eastern State Hospital and Western State Hospital?

The prison libraries are supported with federal library funding. These libraries provide the residents of these institutions support for education, literacy, recovery, recreation, and re-entry. It is a goal of this program that these libraries support a reduction in inmate recidivism leading to healthier and safer communities over time. Over 574,000 items were circulated by these 11 libraries to those incarcerated or institutionalized.

WTBBL logoThe Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) is a program of the Washington State Library. WTBBL provides equal access to information and reading materials for Washington residents unable to read standard print. A portion of the funding for this service comes from federal LSTA funding. WTBBL has over 7,300 patrons, serves 224 Washington state schools and 261 other Washington state organizations. Roughly 320,000 audiobooks and other materials were circulated during the reporting year along with approximately 74,000 books and magazines being downloaded. On May 19, 2017, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), part of the Library of Congress, named the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library of Seattle as the Network Library of the Year for 2016.

The mission of the Washington State Library is “Connecting Washington through the power of libraries.” WSL is proud to be able to provide a range of services to academic libraries, public libraries, school libraries, non-profit special libraries, and tribal libraries who in turn are better able to support the residents of their local community. WSL services take the form of one-on-one consulting, grant awards to support the development of new and enhanced library services, training to enhance the knowledge and skills of local library staff, cooperative projects which leverage the power of individual libraries, and statewide projects which focus on topical areas of opportunity and needs.

Read the full State Programs Report at 2016 LSTA State Programs Report.

A job in the library helps foster new growth and knowledge

Friday, October 27th, 2017 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services | Comments Off on A job in the library helps foster new growth and knowledge

A young man in a prison uniform standing in front of a shelf of books. Healthy houseplant on top of the bookcase.Sue Box, the librarian at Airway Heights Corrections Center sent us a great story the other day about a young man who is a clerk in the library.  This is  a position in the prison that is assigned for two years. Sue  described it as a dream job for the library users because they are there every day and get to be the first to see, and check out, new items. (Do any of you relate to that?) In order to be chosen there are a number of “tests” that must be passed.  Does the applicant have a high school diploma or GED, can they use the catalog, put things in call number order, and how will they respond well to customer service challenges.    This young man likes working in the library so much that he turned down a chance to work for the  Corrections Industry (CI) to stay working in the library.  To understand what this choice means, in the library the clerks are paid 40 cents/hr. while the CI pays pay 65 cents-$1.75/hr.  CI jobs can also provide useful experience for gaining employment upon release.  In this case, he turned down the opportunity to work in the optical shop, which he knows could open doors when he leaves.

But, back to the story, Sue told us that when he arrived this young man knew nothing about plants.  But when another clerk left and someone needed to tend the plants he stepped up and used the opportunity to learn.  He has read every book in the library on the care of houseplants and takes this responsibility very seriously.  Sue said he now knows more about plant care than she does. The picture is taken with his favorite plant and if you look at its health and vigor you can see that he has applied his lessons well.  As Sue said, “It’s always interesting the sides of people you see in here that you didn’t think you would.” It looks like Sue has discovered  a budding horticulturist, a side he may not have known about himself without this opportunity.  One more story about how libraries open doors.

Washington State Library Community Book Project

Monday, October 23rd, 2017 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on Washington State Library Community Book Project

Picture of new Community Reads websiteBack in 2008 an idea was born.  Many Washington Libraries were catching on to Nancy Pearl’s brilliant “One Book, Community wide read” idea.  A book was selected each year for the entire community to read, programs were developed around that book and the book would bring the community together for discussions around shared topics.  In preparation for a program libraries would invest in dozens, or sometimes hundreds of copies of a book.  At the end of the year though, they found themselves with more copies of the book than they could use.  Pierce County Library was the first to donate their books to the State Library with the idea that other libraries in the state might have a use for them.  It turned out to be a very popular program and the State Library was the natural hub and distribution point for these book sets.

Fast forward ten years and more than 10,000 books have passed through our hands, enabling small public and school libraries around the state to grow their collections.  The program is very popular but as it has grown, the time and effort to maintain it has also grown.  If you have requested books from the project you will understand the effort that goes into the process.  So we decided to try a new way to make it easier for you and for us.

Enter the new website “Washington State Library Community Book Project”.  If you’ve ever placed an online order it will be straightforward.  Think of it like a *FREE* bookstore.  Books will still be distributed on a first come/first serve basis however the “store” has inventory control.  You can see how many copies there are left before you place an order.  If there are not enough for your purpose you can simply pass.  Furthermore rather than releasing a list of titles all at once we are now able to add books to the “store” as they arrive.  We hope that this will make it easier on all parties and that getting these books into the hands of Washington Libraries will be able to happen that much faster. So bookmark the page, mark your calendars and check back often.

Does your library have book club or Community Reads book collections you no longer need?  We’d love to help you share them with other Washington Libraries.  Please contact Leanna Hammond  leanna.hammond@sos.wa.gov  to find out how.

The new LSTA Five Year plan has been approved.

Monday, October 16th, 2017 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on The new LSTA Five Year plan has been approved.

Picture of the Strategic Goals of the Washington State LibraryEvery five years one of our tasks at the State Library is to both look backwards and look forward. The backwards part is an evaluation of our previous LSTA Five-Year Plan; how did we do, did we meet our goals, and how can we do better? Looking forward of course is developing our plans and goals for the next five years. We take into consideration LSTA priorities, goals set by the Governor, we consult library leaders around the state about their hopes and needs, and we do a lot of thinking and planning how we can best use the federal funds to support Washington libraries.

After a lot of hard work we are happy to report that the LSTA Five Year Plan has been approved by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. View the approval letter here.

The LSTA Five-Year Plan guides the activities to be conducted with federal LSTA awards given out from federal fiscal year 2018 through federal fiscal year 2022. The LSTA Five-Year Plan shares the overall mission of the Washington State Library and uses five of the seven goals within the Washington State Library Strategic Plan (see inset). These goals form the foundation for implementation of projects over the next federal fiscal years.

Look over these goals and tell us how we can help you and your community. The Washington State library, here to connect Washington through the power of libraries.