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WSL Updates for March 8, 2014

March 14th, 2018 Will Stuivenga Posted in For Libraries, Grants and Funding, Institutional Library Services, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates Comments Off on WSL Updates for March 8, 2014

Volume 14, March 8, 2018 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:









A new round of grant funding from the Washington State Library (WSL) is available to support Washington libraries in carrying out a variety of digital initiatives related to archival and special collections. Public, academic (two and four year colleges and universities), and tribal libraries are eligible to submit applications. Institutions may also use this grant opportunity to develop Washington Rural Heritage collections.

Proposals may include or involve:

  • Digitization/reformatting of archival and special collections;
  • Metadata creation, remediation/cleanup, and/or re-cataloging;
  • Development of local standards, practices, and/or policies related to digitization, metadata creation, digital preservation, etc.;
  • Creation of born-digital multimedia content (e.g., oral histories, digital exhibits);
  • Integration of primary sources or archival collections into educational settings by way of lesson plans/curricula, and/or Open Educational Resources (OERs).

Overall funding to support this grant cycle is $80,000 with a limit of $8,000 per award. We anticipate that ten (10) or more applicants may receive awards. Details:

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Evan Robb, Digital Repository Librarian, at 360-704-5228 or [email protected] for questions and to discuss potential projects.



The Washington State Library has the following titles available to redistribute to libraries in Washington State:

  • Forget Sorrow, by Belle Yang – 12 copies
  • Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem – 9 copies
  • Atonement, by Ian McEwan – 10 copies
  • Gemini, by Carol Cassella – 12 copies
  • While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness, by Eli Sanders – 34 copies

A minimum of five copies per order is required. They can be a mix and match of titles. This is a first come, first serve process. Place your order at blogs.sos.wa.gov/book-sharing. Questions? Please contact Leanna Hammond: [email protected].



How can small, rural libraries transform their communities? Find out at this full day, experiential workshop, Community Engagement Training: Turning Outward to Lead Change. Participants will learn how to create community-based libraries by identifying local resources, improving communication with stakeholders and “turning outward,” using tools developed by the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation.

Join Amber Williams, from the Spokane County Library District, and Erica Freudenberger, from the Southern Adirondack Library System, to adapt and customize a roadmap to engage your community, build the capacity of your library, and incorporate the tools used by the American Library Association’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative. Libraries are invited to send a team consisting of library staff, trustees, and/or community leaders.

By the end of the workshop, participants will confidently:

  • Use free tools, such as the Ask, Aspirations and Community Conversation, to gather public knowledge;
  • Assess public needs;
  • Use community-based decision-making to inform library services;
  • Utilize the free resources available through ALA.org/LTC.

There are three locations and dates for this important and transformative training experience, which will run from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day:

  • April 16, 2018: Pierce County Library Administrative Center, Tacoma;
  • April 18, 2018: Wenatchee Public Library;
  • April 19, 2018: Ritzville Public Library.

Don’t miss out! Register now.



PNR Rendezvous is a monthly webinar series presented by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region. Each session focuses on various topics such as health, research, resources, librarianship, and technology for attendees to incorporate into their work.

The Washington State Library operates a network of eleven libraries in state hospitals and prisons. The March session of PNR Rendezvous will provide an overview of institutional library services in Washington State, including history, challenges, and information regarding services for hospitalized and incarcerated populations. Presenters are Anna Nash, Institutional Librarian, and Kathleen Benoun, Library Associate, Washington State Library. Mark your calendar now.




The Institute of Museum and Library Services is accepting applications for projects that support libraries and archives serving Native Americans and Native Alaskans. Applications for Native American Library Services Enhancement Grants are due May 1, 2018.

Native American Library Services Enhancement Grants augment existing library services or implement new library services for eligible Native American libraries. Successful grant projects will align with one of three project categories:

  • Preservation and Revitalization;
  • Educational Programming;
  • Digital Services.

To learn more, interested applicants may participate in a series of webinars. Next up: Enhancement Grant Accountability Paperwork (Budgets and Performance Measures), Tuesday, March 13, 11:00 a.m. PDT.

Read the entire press release for additional information.



Monday, March 12

Tuesday, March 13

Wednesday, March 14

Thursday, March 15

Friday, March 16


DISCLAIMER: The State Library regularly highlights third-party events and online resources as a way to alert the library community to training and resource opportunities. By doing so, we are not endorsing the content of the event, nor promoting any specific product, but merely providing this information as an FYI to librarians who must then decide what is right for them.

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Beekeepers at the Airway Heights Corrections Center

February 26th, 2018 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services 1 Comment »

From the desk of Sue Box, Library Associate at the Airway Heights Corrections Center.

Picture of a group of men with a Banner that says West Plains Beekeepers AssociationOn February 15, I had the pleasure and privilege of watching sixteen men be congratulated on a one-of-a-kind accomplishment.  About two years ago, Mr. Jim Miller, a master beekeeper and longtime member of the West Plains Beekeepers Association, decided to give of himself and his time to help the prison really get the beekeeping program going.  He helped set up hives, he taught the brand new beekeepers how to do what they needed to do, etc.  But he was hoping for more.  What he really wanted of the inmates in return was their help in writing a journeyman level beekeeping curriculum (which had been his dream for more than a decade).  A daunting task, to be sure.  This required the beekeepers to immerse themselves in peer-reviewed scientific literature and other pretty heavy reading and study.  They took it on, they dived in head first, they worked their butts off… and a year later, the coursebook was revealed.  Mr Miller was so happy and so proud of the work they did, and they are hoping to have the course approved by the state beekeepers body in the coming months.

I was lucky enough to be in the room about a year ago when the writing journey started.  To see the inmates go from the deer-in-the-headlights, “He wants us to do WHAT??” faces, to the proud faces of accomplishment that I saw today, was pretty cool.  I was also pleased to help them with a very small amount of research for their task.  Not much, but a little.

What these men did, has never before been done.  It may well never be done again.  So, when I won ajar of honey in a raffle at the ceremony, it was also very cool.  Just a little jar of honey….but so much more.

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How your donations to the Institutional Libraries makes a difference.

February 2nd, 2018 Nono Burling 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.

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State Library’s Annual Report Showcases Successes.

January 4th, 2018 Nono Burling 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.

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A job in the library helps foster new growth and knowledge

October 27th, 2017 Nono Burling 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.

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Tacoma’s Poet Laureate visits the Washington Corrections Center for Women

June 6th, 2017 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services Comments Off on Tacoma’s Poet Laureate visits the Washington Corrections Center for Women

From the desk of Ken McDouall, Library Associate, Washington Corrections Center for Women

The picture of an African American woman smiling.Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) library branch was pleased to welcome Tacoma’s newest Poet Laureate last week. Kellie Richardson is a lifelong resident of Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, and her poetry is informed by her intersecting identities as an activist, an African American woman, a mother, and a Christian. She has taught at Pacific Lutheran University and is often busy conducting workshops and giving presentations to local schools and community events.

Ms. Richardson formed immediate connections with the crowd of inmates gathered for an open mic event on the evening of May 26. She read a couple of her pieces, and encouraged those in attendance to come up and share their work. The evening featured some stellar performances from the inmates, including a striking presentation of a couple Nina Simone songs. When participation started to flag, Ms. Richardson energized the crowd with several rounds of “pop-up poetry,” engaging participants to create spontaneous poems based on words chosen by their peers.

Enthusiasm for poetry and spoken word is high at WCCW, and the library branch here makes every effort to keep it that way. Ms. Richardson looks forward to returning and encouraging other poets in the area to connect to this unique population of library patrons. ​


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Perceptiveness through Poetry

April 18th, 2017 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services Comments Off on Perceptiveness through Poetry

From the desk of Anna Nash

Every year I look forward to April because it’s National Poetry Month. It is my favorite time for programming in the Institutional Library Services branches. The talent I see each year is at time overwhelming. It is a labor of love. We arrange workshops, presentations, and open mics and in return we get to listen to and read truly amazing poetry.

I don’t think I can say it any better than I did in when we released our first collection of Percipience: A collection of poems from the Institutional Library Services Poetry Month April 2014. Below is the intro to that collection:

 Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.

― Carl Sandburg

When I hosted my first poetry program two years ago I didn’t realize how powerful poetry could be. Poetry is many things to many people. Some may find comfort in hearing or reading poetry that expresses their feelings. Some may use it as a vehicle to express what might be otherwise inexpressible. It is, above all, expression. Language, verbal and written communication, can be frustratingly limiting. Poets are those who are able to use that frustration. They manipulate language; the words, the cadence, the pronunciation, and spelling to communicate what other can only think or feel.

I chose the title Percipience because it means good understanding of things; perceptiveness. The authors represented in this book have a good understanding of their subject. Hopefully the reader will experience their own understanding and perception of the works presented.

I have seen great talent in the events I have hosted in the institutional libraries. Performances, great performances, by some I have never heard talk before. Others who never stop talking have performed thoughtfully constructed subtle poetry that beautifully articulates love, or pain, or anger or all three. One of the greatest revelations I had was that we are surrounded by poets. Not people who write poetry, poets.

It was a great undertaking to transcribe nearly 150 poems from 11 institutional libraries. It gave me a chance to read and appreciate each one. I hope I have done all the poets around the state justice. Thank you to everyone, patrons and staff, who participated in the first Institutional Library Services Poetry Month. I look forward to seeing and hearing all the poetry our patrons produce in the future.

I want to once again thank the poets and artist from the prisons and state hospitals in Washington who have contributed in past years. Thank you for trusting us with your poetry and art work. I am so incredibly happy to announce that this year’s edition of Percipience will be published AND we will be expanding our collection of artwork from Eastern and Western State Hospitals!

We have copies of our two collections of Percipience the 2014 edition and the 2015/2016 edition in each of our branch libraries and available digitally right here. Print copies of Percipience will be available for purchase for the first time this year as well as a digital copy available for free. Stay tuned for more information on how and when to purchase your copy of Percipience 2017!

Disclaimer –we are unable to profit off of the sales of Percipience 2017. Our goal is to provide a platform to the artist and poets in our branch libraries. Your purchase and/or download of Percipience gives them an audience. Thank you!

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Dogs in the library, normalizing life for inmates.

November 10th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services Comments Off on Dogs in the library, normalizing life for inmates.

From the desk of Jean Baker – Library Associate, Washington State Penitentiary

State Librarian Cindy Aden visiting the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center LibraryI was sitting in the office yesterday and someone pointed to the hallway and said, “Look at all of the puppies”.  I went out in the hallway and found about a dozen puppies spilling out of a basket and climbing over each other.  Standing around in a circle were about 10 grown men some with tattoos and ponytails cuddling, petting and cooing at the little canines thus erasing the stereotype of tough convicts with a few simple gestures.   The men told me they were about 3 weeks old and had every sort of coloring, black and white, brown and red, all brown, all white.

The men and the puppies are residents, some for a longer period than others of Coyote Ridge Corrections Center (CCRC), a medium custody facility in Connell, WA.   One of the prized jobs at CRCC is to be a dog handler.  These men are very dedicated care-takers of their charges who are brought to the prison to receive training and socialization before being adopted out to families in the community.

This program is one of the many normalizing activities these inmates can experience to help them learn new behaviors and skills for when they can re-enter society.   I was very excited to see this interaction of inmates and puppies while visiting the CRCC library.  The library is located in the building where inmate programs are held and is a branch of the Washington State Library.   The Institutional Services program of the State Library operates libraries in nine prisons and 2 mental hospitals in Washington.

I am the Branch Library Associate at Washington State Penitentiary and my visit was to assist newly hired CRCC Branch Library Associate, Justin Dickson with some final details of his training.    The CRCC library is the newest and largest of the institutional libraries, opening in February 2009.  At any time there can be 50-60 inmates using the library for one-hour periods.  Justin has 4 inmate library clerks who handle patron customer service as well as shelving materials and keeping the collection in good order.

The library program at CRCC is another normalizing activities that is highly used and appreciated by the inmates.  It is a neutral, comfortable environment which provides the opportunity to pursue interests, learn something new, find recreational reading and prepare for re-entry to the world outside the prison walls.


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Washington State Library honors Hispanic heritage / Biblioteca del Estado de Washington rinde homenaje a la herencia hispana

October 14th, 2016 Rand Simmons Posted in Articles, Federal and State Publications, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Public Services, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library Comments Off on Washington State Library honors Hispanic heritage / Biblioteca del Estado de Washington rinde homenaje a la herencia hispana


Información en español

From the desk of Rand Simmons

Need assistance finding information? Why don’t you Ask WA?

“Ask WA,” you say.

Ask-WA is a cooperative of more than 60 libraries throughout Washington State, both public and academic, that provide online reference services through chat, email, and instant messaging (IM). This statewide network is tied to a global network that provides access to online reference service, 24/7.

So, when you enter the Ask-WA portal, no matter the day or time, you should readily find help.

If you are a Spanish speaker there is a Spanish portal for you.

Ask-WA es un servicio de chat en línea que lo pone en contacto con un bibliotecario, tanto a nivel local como mundial. En inglés, éste servicio es disponible 24/7 utilizando una red mundial de bibliotecarios profesionales. En español, el servicio no es 24/7, a pesar de una extensa red de bibliotecarios de habla hispana que ofrece asistencia durante la mayor parte del tiempo, especialmente durante la semana.

Para saber si un bibliotecario está disponible para chatear en vivo, por favor, llene el formulario de chat en español de Ask-WA.

Si un bibliotecario no está disponible, usted puede enviar su pregunta por correo electrónico, usted recibirá una respuesta dentro de 48 horas (probablemente mucho antes).

Fiestas Patrias 2016

Fiestas Patrias

Recently staff of the State Library’s Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) staffed a table at this year’s Fiestas Patrias  held at the Seattle Center. State Librarian Cindy Aden was on hand to greet people.

The festival celebrates the independence of  Latin American countries. Belizeans, Brazilians, Chileans, Costa Ricans, Salvadoreans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Mexicans, and Nicaraguans from all over the Pacific Northwest to gather and enjoy great food, dance, and music.

Fiesta Patrias was a wonderful opportunity for people to become acquainted with the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library. We, in turn, learned more about the communities we want to serve — individuals needing reading and information in non-English languages.

State Librarian Cindy Aden stated, “We take the motto of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, “That All May Read,” seriously. We know that having reading material and information in multiple languages is crucial in our diverse society. I am proud of the efforts of  Washington Talking Book & Braille Library to reach out to the Hispanic community and to have published its first Spanish-language audio book. The State Library has also provides Spanish language support for our AskWA virtual reference service. We are always looking for more ways to make a difference, and we support and  encourage other Washington libraries to do the same”.

WTBBL services are available to all Washington State residents who are unable to read standard print due to one or more of the following conditions:

  • Legal blindness
  • Visual impairment
  • Physical disability causing an inability to turn pages or comfortably hold a book for extended periods of time
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Reading disability due to organic dysfunction

Read more about the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library.

Las bibliotecas de prisiones

Our branch libraries in nine state prisons provide library and information services to inmates many of whom are non-English speakers. In 2014 the Prison Policy Initiative reported that Hispanics made up 14% of the inmates in Washington State prisons and jails. The State Library provides Spanish language material for those for whom English is not their native language. Our branch libraries are “public libraries” for the incarcerated.


Publicaciones federales en español

Federal and state publications are published in Spanish and other languages although the majority are published in English. For example, many of the tax materials published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are published in Spanish and material for kids such as El Club de los Dos Bocados (Two Bite Plate) published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service.

Sigue a Will y Anna a probar dos bocados de cada grupo alimenticio y de como se convierten en el Club de los Dos Bocados! Este libro muy colorido introduce los cinco grupos de alimentos de MiPlato a niños pequeños y los motiva a probar alimentos de cada grupo alimenticio. El libro que tiene actividades interactivas tales como narración optional, realce de texto, juegos y activades interactivas, cetificados y páginas para colorear ayudaran a los niños a aprender acerca de MiPlato y una alimentación sana al mismo tiempo que mejora sus abilidades de lectura.

You can borrow the book from the State Library or other federal depository libraries, read it on line, or download it.

Need assistance finding state or federal publications in Spanish? Contact our Ask a Librarian service. We can help you find resources such as these: America’s PrepareAthon! Materials in Spanish from FEMA.

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Poetry on the Inside

December 8th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services Comments Off on Poetry on the Inside

DSC_0028Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen recently held  poetry workshops for the inmates at both the Coyote Ridge Correctional Center and the Washington State Penitentiary. Washington State Library has an institutional library branch in each of these facilities and the workshops were held in our libraries.  You may not think a prison would be a place that was receptive of poetry but both reported successful programs.

​At the Washington State Penitentiary’s program nine inmates attended as well as a couple of teachers who dropped in.  The session lasted over two hours and all of the inmates participated in the discussion and asking questions.  ​ Ms. Austen started by reading poetry, including her own from her book “Every Dress a Decision”.   The inmates were enthusiastic and ready with questions and discussion about the poetry they heard.

After the reading they asked Ms. Austen  questions about her writing process and she talked about what can be learned about yourself while writing.   The men who attended the workshop also had a chance to read their own poetry and listened carefully as she gave them tips and feedback on the rewriting process to help them polish and refine their words.  DSC_0025

​Ms. Austen left some poetry books including a copy of her volume.  The inmates were very appreciative of the program and enjoyed the chance to meet her.  Apparently Ms. Austen equally enjoyed the chance to work with the inmates.  In a blog post she wrote about the events she said,

“My role in the workshops was to try to offer the same thing I hope to provide at workshops in libraries on the outside: the chance to read a few good poems together, and avail ourselves of poetry’s power to illuminate our lives and connect us to each other… The original poems they read aloud voiced regret and longing, struggles with anger and addiction, sorrow at lost connections to children, parents and spouses… As with any workshop, I can’t really know if what I did was useful to the participants. I hope so; I know it’s going to take me a while to assimilate the stories I heard through their poems and conversation.”

The program was sponsored by of Humanities Washington and ArtsWA, the Washington State Arts Commission. 

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