WA Secretary of State Blogs

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.

Joyce Hanna is the 2014 State Library Employee of the Year.

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services | Comments Off on Joyce Hanna is the 2014 State Library Employee of the Year.

OSOS Staff Appreciation Sept 26 2014 026Joyce retires today after a long tenure with the Washington State Library. She is our branch manager at the Airway Heights Corrections Center, one of our largest institutional library branches.

Joyce was one of the first branch managers to establish a Read Together program. The community reading program became very popular and inmates who regularly attended the programs frequently asked what the next book would be.

Last year Joyce fought, and beat, cancer! While undergoing treatment she kept the Airway Heights Corrections Center open, an indication of her dedication toward library service to prisoners.

Her manager Laura Sherbo summarized Joyce’s leadership role as “leading by example.”

Bob Fendler will step in on an interim appointment to manage the Airway Heights branch.

Congratulations, Joyce. Enjoy your retirement.

Dog Days at the Library

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | Comments Off on Dog Days at the Library

Libraries are never so much fun as when the four legged patrons come to the library.  Not all prison libraries in Washington State have animals as part of their loyal patron base, but those that do find joy in getting a ‘pawshake’ and handing out a biscuit.  Airway Heights Corrections Library and Stafford Creek Corrections Library both share anecdotes of their “favorite” patrons.

George at AHCC Library

George at AHCC Library

He is so cute. Shakes and gives High 5. He sits up tall and will stay up as long as he thinks he will get another treat. His trainer says he has stayed up over 2 minutes. -Joyce Hanna AHCC Library

It seems like there are more dogs with their toys than “boys” in the library right now.  Actually, probably not; but interesting…barking…playing…begging for their doggie treats.  “Winston”, a beautiful English setter, mostly white with brown spots here and there is lying at my feet I’m ignoring him, waiting forever for his treat.   – Jeannie Remillard SCCC Library

With the new arrival of dogs there is much excitement and fun in the air.  Tuesday the library was packed and we were very busy.  The dogs were visiting!!  Several of them were behind the counter with me getting their treats…. Tank – A big Black Lab weighing in at 87lbs was out in the reading room area, stretched out on the floor sleeping, all of a sudden I guess he realized that he wanted his puppy treat too.  He came bounding over the front counter and landed on the floor in front of my desk.  Everyone in the whole room was laughing. – Jeannie Remillard SCCC Library

Jeannie with puppy at SCCC Library

Jeannie with puppy at SCCC Library



6th and largest Library Reads Program at Airway Heights Corrections Center

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | Comments Off on 6th and largest Library Reads Program at Airway Heights Corrections Center

AHCC pic for blog     Airway Heights Correction Center Library is starting its 6th Library Reads Program. We started this program one year ago with John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row”. After that we read “Sky Fisherman” by Craig Lesley, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave and “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.

     This program has been very exciting and I am amazed at the way the guys get into the books, whether they like it or not. Every discussion has been exhilarating for the entire group. No matter how the inmates feel about a given book, the author has accomplished his or her goal. The books have them thinking about what is written and how it is written, not just if they like it or not.

     As we go into 2013 we are changing modes a little and our book in January will be “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. This book is really pumping up the group. I may have to increase the number of discussion groups to accommodate the interest in this program or try to find a different place to hold it. I do not want to limit who can be involved in the discussions because this program is so positive. It is good for the inmates here at Airway Heights, and for me, and good for the communities the inmates will release into.

     This program is so much more than a reading group. The inmates are having a positive experience and learning social behavior skills as well. I love to read and I love sharing my interest in reading. I see inmates discussing books at the tables in the library now and helping each other pick out books to read. “The Hunger Games” is bringing in faces I have not had in the group before and increasing the interest in reading. I am very excited to see so many people reading for the pure joy of reading.


High Hopes for 2012

Monday, April 23rd, 2012 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | Comments Off on High Hopes for 2012


AHCC Library

2011 saw many changes at the Airway Heights Corrections Center (AHCC). The institution changed to a closed movement facility and this has had a dramatic impact on library attendance. From what was a full library most movements has changed to about half our normal capacity.  

We started the year out with a Library Snapshot Day. Everyone had a blast and the atmosphere here was full of excitement. In February DOC started to make changes to increase security and for the next 6 months we were open and then closed due to lack of inmate clerks. Our budgets had been slashed so we started to feel the impact of that. Even with all the changes within DOC, the AHCC library has remained the center of activity. I still see all my regular patrons and reading remains high on the list of positive activities within the prison environment. 

In October, the AHCC branch library distributing the first book for our “AHCC Library Reads Together” program. We had our first session at the end of November and discussed Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Since then the program has tripled in size and we have read The Skyfisherman by Craig Lesley and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. We are just starting our newest selection, Little Bee by Chris Cleave. This program is really having a positive impact. The inmates are talking about these books in their day rooms and the discussions in our group are amazing.  

I have high hopes for the AHCC library in 2012.