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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.

WSL Holds eBook / Audiobook Conference

Thursday, October 5th, 2017 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Technology and Resources | Comments Off on WSL Holds eBook / Audiobook Conference


From the Desk of Will Stuivenga.

Picture of a large group meeting. Tables with white tablecloths

The Washington State Library recently hosted the first ever face-to-face User Group Meeting for members of the Washington Digital Library Consortium, a group of 44 (soon to be 45) of the state’s mid-sized and smaller public libraries that provide the OverDrive-powered Washington Anytime Library to their patrons.

61 people (including Cindy Aden, State Librarian, and 4 additional staff from the State Library) attended the event, with all but a handful of member libraries represented. The event ran all day September 27, and through lunch on September 28. Libraries represented at the meeting were from as far away as Camas, Clarkston, Lincoln County, the Olympic Peninsula, Richland, Walla Walla, and pretty much everywhere in between.

The event was organized and coordinated by Will Stuivenga, Cooperative Projects Manager for Library Development at the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State. Will manages the consortium’s day-to-day operations with the assistance of a 3-person Executive Advisory Committee. Funding provided by the State Library comes from the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA), administered through the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS). Currently, member libraries contribute most of the regular ongoing funding for the organization.

As a result of this meeting:

  • Washington Anytime meeting participants now have a much better understanding of the challenges facing their collaborative;
  • Advisory votes were taken on the several important questions regarding the governance of the consortium and customer service issues;
  • 26 individuals volunteered to serve on committees to undertake necessary work in the  following areas:
    • Governance,
    • Weeding,
    • Collection development,
    • Curated title lists for the Anytime Library;
  • People came away with a better knowledge of the support which the State Library has provided to organize, grow, and financially subsidize the consortium and its Anytime Library collection.

Attendee reviews of the event were universally positive. People said they especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet and discuss important issues with their peers from other libraries, both small and large, and many expressed hope that similar events can be scheduled in future.

For more pictures from the event, visit our Flickr Album

Help us Tag Washington’s WWI Sammies!

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections | Comments Off on Help us Tag Washington’s WWI Sammies!


From the desk of Shawn Schollmeyer

The Library of Congress has once again found a fun new way to promote our digital newspapers collections by launching a new crowd-sourced tagging tool to help us capture the key names & titles of the WWI cartoons in our Washington digital newspapers. From 2008-2014 the Washington State Library participated in the National Digital Newspaper Program, contributing over 306,000 pages of Washington newspapers to the Chronicling America website.

One of the biggest advances in making a digital collection full-text searchable is the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, which is great for text, but does a poor capture of handwritten and small text that is often used for cartoons & illustrations. The Beyond Words lab just launched this month by Library of Congress is a fun way to learn about the editorials and opinions of WWI by tagging these cartoons & illustration adding value as a primary resource for researchers, teachers and students. Give it a try and let us know what you think of it! We’ll be passing along feedback to the NDNP staff at Library of Congress. And tell us more about these Sammies!

Crowdsourcing: Beyond Words

One of the first features on labs.loc.gov is Beyond Words, a website that invites the public to identify cartoons and photographs in historic newspapers and provide captions that will turn images into searchable data. This fun crowdsourcing program grows the data set of text available for researchers who use visualization, text analysis and other digital humanities methodologies to discover new knowledge from Chronicling America—the Library’s large collection of historic American newspapers. Beyond Words is available as a pilot project to help the Library of Congress learn more about what subsets of Library data researchers are interested in and to grow the Library’s capacity for crowdsourcing.

“What I like about crowdsourcing is it gives people a chance to discover hidden gems in the collection. You never know what you’ll find poking through old newspapers,” said Tong Wang, the IT specialist who created Beyond Words during a three-month pilot innovator-in-residence program.

Beyond Words will also generate public domain image galleries for scholarship and creative play. As this data set grows, educators, researchers and artists will be able to group image collections by time frame, such as identifying all historic cartoons appearing in World War I-era newspapers.

The Shoalwater Bay Tribe has a beautiful new museum/library.

Friday, September 15th, 2017 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Site Visits, Tribal | Comments Off on The Shoalwater Bay Tribe has a beautiful new museum/library.


From the desk of Carolyn Petersen

Congratulations to the Shoalwater Bay Tribe on their new museum library location!

People lined up against a wall. A man and a woman shaking hands. Native American drums in the picture.On Friday, September 8, the Shoalwater Bay tribe realized a long held dream of opening a museum to highlight their cultural contributions to their community.  Tribal Library Consultant Carolyn Petersen conveyed a letter of congratulations on their achievement from Secretary of State Kim Wyman which was presented to tribal members.

Some of the highlights of the collection: a cedar hand dugout canoe, a recreation of a tribal headdress using eagle feathers collected from the beach combined with an otter skin purchased at a tribal gathering, and a facsimile of the map with President Andrew Jackson’s signature showing the Shoalwater Bay reservation

Shoalwater Bay tribal librarian Linda Rose Woman leaning on a low bookshelf in a library.was excited at the opening as well because it meant that the tribal library now shares space with the museum which is on a prime location on the coastal highway (in Tokeland, WA.)  Many more folks will discover the library in its current location.  New shelving on casters will allow Linda to accommodate her frequent community programming.

The tribe hopes many visitors will stop by to appreciate both the museum and the library.

The Great Eclipse of 2017

Monday, August 21st, 2017 Posted in Articles, For the Public | Comments Off on The Great Eclipse of 2017


Click for a Flickrset of some of the great pictures we took!

What started as a surprise, turned into a glorious celebration!  Several months ago when we learned that NASA was giving away eclipse glasses to libraries we decided to order 1000 pairs to hand out to Washington Libraries.  Those were quickly claimed, but NASA was kind enough to send us several thousand more, which we continued to distribute to interested libraries across the state.  Then one day, out of the blue, our phones started ringing, “Where can I get eclipse glasses?”  That was when we learned that NASA had published a list of all the libraries they’d given glasses to and we were listed as a place that was holding an event!  A quick change of gears and the response was “We will be holding an event on the day of the eclipse and we will hand out glasses then.”  But all we had left were 90 pairs.  Hmmm.

Meanwhile we had an event to plan.  Calls were made to find a local expert willing to speak at the event and we were fortunate to locate Ken Slavens from the Tacoma Astronomical Society (TAS), and Francisco Velez from the Evergreen Astrological Society who were willing to come to our event to present a program and be available to answer questions.  OK, we were getting a good program together.  Next we managed to buy 100 more pairs of glasses and learned that the TAS was bringing a whole bunch more.  Things were falling into place nicely.  Will anyone come we wondered?

Fast forward to this morning.  Arriving at 7 a.m. we found a line snaking around the building.  Some intrepid souls even slept in their cars in order to be sure they’d get glasses!  As the morning went on more and more people arrived.  By 8:30 a.m. when we started handing out glasses the line was seemingly endless.  We estimate there were around 500 people waiting.  All in all, we handed out 300 pairs of glasses to the assembled crowd. Others came with their own glasses to take part in the event.  There were lots of homemade viewers, everything from cereal boxes to elaborate cardboard constructions.  In the end, although we didn’t have enough glasses for everyone, it wasn’t a problem.  Many people shared glasses and they were generously passed around.

The weather was perfect, the visiting astronomers were great.  They brought posters, models, fielded questions and set up a telescope named “Luke Skywatcher” to project an image of the sun.  Another telescope had been made safe for the event so you could look closely at the sun through the telescope.  The astronomers shared safety tips and astronomical facts. The crowd was wonderfully engaged and often responded with applause and cheers. To keep kids busy while waiting, sidewalk chalk and coloring sheets were available. It became a community event where people made new acquaintances, talked with each other, and laughed and marveled at the glorious site.  Our guest astronomers occasionally gave a countdown to our ‘totality’ – about 94%.

As we neared this the sky grew oddly dark, and the temperature dropped. People sat and chatted or milled around and commented on their experience. Then came the big announcement “We hit totality, this is it. This is the best we’ve got.” A wonderful, spontaneous cheer went up again. Eclipse glasses were passed around again, the view was spectacular and the crowd loved it.  We were thrilled that hundreds of you came and enjoyed the eclipse here at the Washington State Library.

We didn’t set out to hold an eclipse program but sometimes serendipity happens and it’s best to just go with it.  I don’t think we could have asked for a better morning!

The National Book Festival and a book to represent Washington State

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Washington Center for the Book | Comments Off on The National Book Festival and a book to represent Washington State


image of a book cover, a paper cut showing a child doing a cannonball into the ocean. In September of 2001 the first National Book Festival was held in Washington D.C.  Laura Bush, a retired librarian, then First Lady of the United States, worked with the Librarian of Congress to launch this new event to encourage a lifelong love of reading.  James Billington, then Librarian of Congress, said, “We must all try, in every way we can, to send the message that reading is critical to our lives and to the life of our nation.” (1)

In 2002 a new addition to the Festival, The Pavilion of the States, was added. (2) Each year states choose a Children’s or Young Adult book they feel represents them.  A representative from each state heads to D.C. to set up a table to showcase their choice and more importantly their state. On the day of the festival thousands of children and their parents run through the pavilion collecting stamps, stickers and bookmarks, on the way learning more about the country they live in.  Washington State was involved almost from the very beginning sending representatives from the State Library to the book festival since 2003.  The books that have been selected each year are an eclectic mix, but they all have one thing in common, they represent Washington State.

The 2017 choice is by author/illustrator Nikki McClure, a Washington native and longtime resident of Olympia.  Waiting For High Tide  (Abrams, 2016) tells the story of a young boy scouring the high tide line for treasures, practicing walking the plank and waiting for high tide so he can swim. While he waits, sea birds and other creatures mirror the family’s behaviors: building and hunting, wading and eating. At long last the tide arrives, and human and animal alike savor the water.

McClure’s picture book features full-bleed cut-paper illustrations in black and white with isolated use of blues and pinks. “Lavish with words and images in a story that is a worthy heir to Robert McCloskey’s work. The sense of place is so rich that it seems possible to smell the air and hear the gulls,” says a Publisher’s Weekly starred review.

It is that sense of place that led to its selection to represent the state of Washington in the Pavilion of the States and in the Great Places, Great Reads publication at the National Book Festival. McClure said she wrote the book to “represent place and to have a beach book that wasn’t East Coast and was for Washington kids.”

Nikki McClure is an author and artist who works with cut-paper to create picture books and an annual calendar. “I cut my images from black paper with an X-Acto knife. Everything is connected,” McClure says. “It’s all one piece of paper, yet it now it holds a story.”

Her books include “To Market, To Market,” “How to Be a Cat,” “Mama Is It Summer Yet?” and illustrator of “All in a Day” by Cynthia Rylant.

The Washington Center for the Book is a partnership of The Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library.  It is a state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

Stimulating Summers

Thursday, July 27th, 2017 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on Stimulating Summers


From the desk of Carolyn Petersen

Four boys in a tornado tunnel. Big smiles

Kids visiting the Mobius Science Center

The city libraries of Reardan, Harrington and the Ritzville District Library  have banded together  to tackle a common problem: summer enrichment activities for children which would slow the summer learning slide. Their solution: a day camp for grade school children with the libraries providing essential mid-day programming.

Seeing a need and realizing that libraries could play a role in filling that need, Carolyn, the overall project manager for Stimulating Summers, corralled disparate funding sources: an Inland Northwest Foundation grant, LSTA funding, “Feed your brain” grant  from School’s Out Washington and USDA summer nutrition funds.

Next she coaxed the key players to support the effort

  • Local librarians who would now need to provide DAILY library programming for 90 minutes for SIX weeks  instead of  one hour of programming once a week for six weeks
  • School district personnel (thank you Justin Bradford superintendent of the Harrington School district for donating the use of the Harrington school pool and Kelli Tanke who recruited EWU student teachers to serve as key Feed your Brain reading counselors)
  • 4-H camp expert (Thank you Bridget Rohner, Lincoln County 4-H for designing the day camp, training the camp counselors and allowing Judy Boutain your administrative assistant to provide essential administrative support such as lining up buses and drivers to get the kids to the field trip.
  • Margy Hall (Economic Development Counselor for Lincoln) to serve as our on the ground PR expert (Please send this required USDA announcement to the local papers to fulfill the requirement to get the summer meal funds approved)

It was a lot of organization but efforts are starting to pay off.  We are half way through the summer and pictures are starting to appear on Facebook.  It looks like a good time is being had by all!   One summer down, two to go.

Book Bingo, it’s never too late!

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Washington Center for the Book | Comments Off on Book Bingo, it’s never too late!


picture of a Bingo card.  Stars and moon for decorationBy now we hope you’ve heard about the new partnership between the Seattle Public Library (SPL) and the Washington State Library.  Yes, we are talking about the Washington Center for the Book. As with all new  endeavors, it can take a while for the behind the scenes work to emerge but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.  Lots of ideas and projects are being cooked up, and we hope to announce things soon.  Meanwhile, if you don’t have your own Summer Reading Book Bingo going, SPL kindly adapted their Bingo card and shares it with you to give you a taste of things to come.  So,  here’s a Bingo card that your library can download, print and hand out to your patrons as we head into the dog days of summer. It’s never too late to read a book! How many do you think you can read before Labor Day? Happy Reading!