From the Chair

WLA Conference

As usual, I enjoyed the WLA conference, this year April 6-8 in Yakima. Some highlights may be of interest to our group. Some highlights may be of interest to our group. You can get to the conference site at
There is a link to information on the keynote speakers who include Lyanda Haupt, a local West Seattle bird expert who has written a sort of Elizabeth-Gilbert-like treatment of Crows (Crow Planet : Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness), Timothy Eagan, a Pulitzer-winning Northwest author living in Spokane, and Chris Crutcher an award winning YA author.

One result of WLA’s rather twittily green discouragement of hand outs is that the handouts for the substantive conference sessions are posted on the WLA site. Almost all of the documents are condensed, stand-alone materials that very efficiently bring out the relevant aspects of their topics. A couple of notes may guide you past t some of the titles:
The Moving to Evergreen Open Source ILS and the Web-Scale management  sections are fairly technical and probably require some insider interest to be of value, though both are exciting if you are positioned to do anything with or about those topics. The materials on Boomers have to do both with the services thos people need now that they are getting old and with recruiting them as volunteers for such things as story telling and volunteer management.

Finally, the links provided on Digital Story telling are useful but bare in the document here. Matt Gullet’s presentation was really about legitimatizing digital story telling as something to enhance the library as a platform and a place to use digital story telling as providing valuable experience for the public. Some of what he talked about was a s simple as digital scrapbooking and PowerPoint. but he also referenced the work of Johnathan Harris in creating graphical and statistical story views directly from the internet. If you search the messages on the web for “I feel…” or “I am feeling…”, analyze the resulting sentences by type of emotion, manipulate the result over Google maps or graphical spreadsheets, what do you learn about the world?


Tony Wilson


This was my second Library Legislative Day in recent decades. It continues to be an exciting and invigorating experience. It is so easy to sit back and see our legislators as out of reach and this WLA sponsored activity quickly puts us face-to-face, or nearly so, in very pleasant circumstances. From our Advisory Board only Virge Staiger and I signed up this time and Virg had to drop out due to complications in recent surgery.

The bus, sponsored by the KCLS Foundation, could have taken a few more of us.
Overall attendance was good, however.
Tim Mallory, WLA President led the intro.
 Journalist Peter Callahan, above, and WLA lobbyist Steve Duncan provided great insights into what is happening on the hill and what to expect, even what other grooups are lobbying on the same day. 

The K-12 contingent (WLMA), part of our group was lobbying to keep teacher-librarians in the schools as a money-saving strategy. Those of us from the public library sector were really only asking to be seen as supporters and part of the solution.

John looks over the House Chamber
John Sheller and I were assigned the 30th, 33rd, and 34th districts. We visited the offices and mostly dropped off some materials and spoke with the legislative assistants. John sent a note and materials to Senator Eide on the Senate floor and we actually talked with a few actual legislators where John had made appointments or where we were lucky. In my own district, I was very glad for a chance to talk with Rep. Katrina Asay, who seems already very conversant with library issues.

This is a year when we so far have no large threats and can't realistically be asking for much. We can be more polite and less demanding than most of their visitors. I think the effort was very good groundwork for what we may need in the future. Another year I'd encourage all of our board members and friends to attend.

Tony Wilson