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.