WA Secretary of State Blogs

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.

Springtime is grant time at WSL!

Monday, April 18th, 2016 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding | Comments Off on Springtime is grant time at WSL!

From the desk of Maura Walsh, WSL’s Grant Manager


Washington State Library has the task of helping distribute funds. We’re accepting applications for four different grants right now. We’d love to help your library share in this funding. Look at the programs below. Each title is a link to more information and applications. Please contact WSLgrants@sos.wa.gov if you have more questions.

Digital Literacy

Help your community find and use quality information. We support projects to help your library users get special skills. These can include projects for underserved populations, projects to introduce new technology and projects that can develop new skills. Public, academic, tribal, and school libraries can apply. Please apply by May 26, 2016.

Metadata Enhancement & Remediation Grant—Pilot Project 2016

This is a grant designed to help institutions prepare their collections for launching or placement on other platforms by meeting Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) requirements. Our goal is to help make your materials more accessible and to help use best practices for your digital collections. This is to support public, academic, and tribal libraries in remediating, re-cataloging, and/or enhancing digital collection records currently available to the public through digital library and digital repository systems. The applications are due by June 10, 2016.

Microsoft Imagine Academy

Today everyone needs technology just to apply for a job or stay competitive. We’re trying to help bridge the technology skills gap. If your college or library is an Imagine Academy Program Member, we have special funds available now. We can provide up to $3,000 for supporting materials. You can also use the funds for publicity. Or they can help with salaries. The opening for these funds is April 7, 2016.

Professional development (PD)

Would you like to send your library staff to a special conference? Would you like to bring a trainer to your library? WSL designed our PD grants to help. Every qualified library, system, or district can apply for up to 75% of what is spent. This can include transportation, lodging and registration. Apply for this grant year-round.

Refreshing School Libraries to Engage Students

Recent data showed the average copyright of many school collections is over 20 years old. WSL wants to help school libraries update nonfiction collections. WSL will provide grants of $1,000 to school libraries for buying nonfiction books. If awarded a grant, teacher librarians will be able to select the books they wish through their normal channels. They may choose to purchase processed, shelf-ready books if they want, but the grant limit is still $1,000. WSL will reimburse schools for their purchases. Applications for this grant are due by May 10, 2016.

Washington Rural Heritage

What’s interesting or unique about your area’s history? What do you want to be able to share easily today and tomorrow? This program helps public and tribal libraries create historical digital collections. You actually digitize your treasures locally with our expert help. These can be objects and documents. Then they become part of the Washington Rural Heritage collection. Your library can collaborate with other groups in your community.  Applications are due by May 25, 2016


WSL Updates for June 11, 2015

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 Posted in For Libraries, Grants and Funding, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | Comments Off on WSL Updates for June 11, 2015

Volume 11, June 11, 2015 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:









Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, is sponsoring the 1st Annual Historical Zine Contest with co-sponsors Washington State Archives and Timberland Regional Library. Participants are asked to create a zine about some aspect of Washington History.

Entries will be accepted from four age groups:

  • Grades 4-6;
  • Grades 7-9;
  • Grades 10-12;
  • Adults of all ages.

Workshops will be held to learn how to make a zine at:

  • Olympia Timberland Library – Saturday, July 11th from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • Yelm Timberland Library – Saturday, July 25th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

For more information go to sos.wa.gov/q/zine. Questions? Please contact Judy Pitchford at judy.pitchford@sos.wa.gov.



The Professional Development (PD) Grant Cycle is open. The Washington State Library has phased out Continuing Education (CE) grants. Professional Development (PD) grants replace CE grants. PD grants use a revised process for applying, reporting, and claiming reimbursement. There are some major changes.

Applying for PD Grants:

  • Only libraries may apply for PD grants;
  • Individuals can no longer apply;
  • Qualifying libraries include public libraries, schools and their school libraries, academic institutions and their libraries, tribal libraries, and non-profit institutions and their libraries.

Libraries can apply for two types of PD grants:

  • Libraries may apply on behalf of individual staff members. The grant can allow up to $1,000 per person per year. The maximum per library is $6,000 per year.
  • Libraries may apply to bring training into the library. The maximum is $3,000 per library per year.

Either a library or its parent institution, depending on their structure, has the authority to apply for these grants and receive reimbursements. In either case, only libraries and library staff are eligible to use the grants. If branches of a library or library system apply, they are considered part of a single library for award limits. Libraries serving a population of less than 5,000 are eligible for a waiver of the required match.

For more information, including application forms, visit sos.wa.gov/q/pdgrants. Questions? Please contact Maura Walsh at maura.walsh@sos.wa.gov.



Bank On Washington’s mission is to provide un-banked and under-banked individuals with access to financial education and mainstream financial services. Sponsored by the Washington State Treasurer’s Office, Bank On Washington is a network of government entities, financial institutions, and non-profit organizations which includes nine local Bank On partners in eleven counties. These partners work closely within their communities to fulfill this mission. Currently, the counties included are Cowlitz, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Whatcom, and Yakima.

Bank On Washington has been awarded a grant from Bank On 2.0 to reach out to the un-banked and under-banked in rural and hard-to-reach communities. Bank On Washington’s grant creates a pilot project called “Book Your Bank” which plans to work with local public and tribal libraries to create a financial safe place where community members can come once or twice a month to receive financial counseling and classes, get their credit score checked, access computers to do online banking, and open up bank accounts.

If your library is interested in participating in Book Your Bank or for more information, please contact Gina Stark, Director of External Affairs, Washington State Treasurer’s Office at 206-550-7329 or Regina.stark@tre.wa.gov.



Registration is now open for the tenth annual Northwest eLearn Conference. This year’s event will be held in Olympia, Washington from Thursday, October 22 – Friday, October 23, 2015. Two exceptional keynote speakers, Jesse Stommel of Hybrid Pedagogy and Audrey Watters of Hack Education, will launch Northwest eLearn Conference 2015.

NWeLC provides an opportunity for higher education and K-12 faculty, administrators, instructional designers, and technologists to come together to discuss best practices, collaborations, and ideas in integrating technology in learning.

This year’s NWeLC will be held at the Olympia Red Lion. To reserve a room at the conference rate and find out about transportation options, visit the conference travel & hotel page at nwelearn.org/travel-hotel.

Register for the Northwest eLearn 2015 Conference at nwelearn.org/registration by Friday, September 11, 2015 for discounted rate.



The American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Round Table announces June as GLBT Book Month. Librarians, booksellers, and community advocates are invited to celebrate and highlight the work being done in GLBT literature. Visit www.ala.org/glbtrt/glbt-book-month for more information.



June 15

  • Conference Attendee Tips – ALA in San Francisco (Idaho Commission for Libraries); 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PDT
  • Digital Literacy Services in Action: Online Webinar (Washington State Library); 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. PDT
  • Developing Competencies for Virtual Classroom Facilitators (InSync Training); 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PDT

June 16

June 17

June 18

For more information and to register (unless otherwise linked above), visit the WSL Training Calendar at sos.wa.gov/q/training.


The Washington State Library has gone social! Friend/follow us at:

         Facebook: on.fb.me/FBWSL;

         Twitter: twitter.com/WAStateLib.