The Institutional Library Services (ILS) program, operated by the Washington State Library, has launched an appeal for donations encompassing literature and resources. These contributions aim to support adult and youth patrons in prisons and state hospitals across the state.
Collaborating closely with entities like the Department of Corrections, the Department of Social and Health Services, and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, the ILS strives to provide crucial library services to individuals in correctional facilities, adult psychiatric hospitals, and juvenile detention facilities.
This initiative has led to the creation of wish lists by the respective facilities, outlining specific requirements. These lists encompass diverse literature, including books by renowned figures like Barack Obama, educational material like a comic book focusing on emotions, stretching tips, and NPR’s acclaimed Best Book of 2023, titled “The Talk.” Furthermore, there are requests for materials designated for a parenting program at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.
Anna Nash, the Institutional Librarian, emphasized the invaluable nature of these services, asserting that ILS branch libraries play a pivotal role in the hospitals, prisons, and juvenile detention centers where they are situated. Users of these libraries can access information, stay connected to the external world, or simply immerse themselves in a good book. Additionally, the donations received also support local bookstores, such as Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane and Queen Anne Book Co. in Seattle.
The ILS is actively seeking individuals with a background in librarianship or related experience to assist in ensuring equal access to information. The program has employment opportunities available due to legislative funding. Jennifer Haas, Branch Librarian, encourages those passionate about aiding marginalized communities to consider applying for these positions.
A comprehensive wish list of required resources, with prices starting at $4.99, is accessible on the ILS website. Furthermore, Washington-based bookstore owners willing to participate in this initiative can reach out to Community Outreach Librarian Sara Peté via email for further information.
The ILS’s call for donations stands as a collaborative effort to enhance educational access and reading opportunities for incarcerated individuals and patients, contributing to their personal growth and rehabilitation while also fostering engagement with local bookstores and communities.
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