Inmates getting out of prison in Washington often report a stigma that hampers their ability to successfully reintegrate into society. Thanks to a recent partnership between the Washington State Library (WSL) and Spokane Public Library, at least one aspect of that challenge is being overcome.
“With this partnership in place, inmates being released to Spokane from state correctional institutions can get a Spokane Public Library card before they even leave prison,” said Laura Sherbo, WSL Branch Library Services Manager. “Instead of feeling the scrutiny of announcing at the library counter that they’ve just gotten out, inmates can now confidently and confidentially access innumerable resources to help with their transition.”
The first recipient of a library card was an inmate released on Dec. 4 from the Washington Corrections Center for Women, a minimum and medium custody facility that houses over 700 female inmates. The State Library, a division of the Office of Secretary of State, operates the institutional libraries found in state correctional facilities and hospitals.
WSL plans to build on the collaboration with Spokane Public Library by eventually conducting classes and events to provide released inmates and other members of the public with learning opportunities. A similar partnership has also recently been formed between the State Library and The Seattle Public Library.
Washington’s Office of Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives as well as documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington.