May 8, 2017

Spokane Public Library
Spokane, WA

Spokane Public LibraryWhat does your organization do?

Our mission statement really sums it up: Spokane Public Library delivers high-quality education for all — opportunities to read, to learn and discover the world.

Currently, what is the most important work that your organization is doing to serve your communities?

* In 2016, our Outreach program circulated more than 85k pieces, reaching more than 5,000 citizens who can’t otherwise make it into a branch. Each week our Outreach team delivers materials to senior homes, day cares, and even the pediatric oncology unit at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.
* In 2016, Spokane Public Library opened the LevelUp co-working space at the Downtown Branch. LevelUp provides flexible and affordable access to co-working space and resources including a Bloomberg terminal, high-tech meeting spaces and access to Macs. With this innovative workspace, Spokane Public Library has positioned itself as a free and reliable resource for the Spokane business and startup community. 
* In 2017, we established an Art Wall in each of our six branches where we are showcasing the artwork of local artists. So we’ve featured a stunning collection traditional hand-sewn Hmong costumes and the vibrant work of a local watercolorist.
* Spokane Library had a record-setting year in 2016 with a 9% increase in circulation, 10% increase in computer usage, and 2.3 million materials circulated.

Approximately how long have you been a WLA institutional member?

At least 25 years – it pre-dates the memory of existing staff.

What is your most memorable WLA experience or collaboration?

At the 1995 WLA Conference in Spokane, we hosted a conference reception at our then one-year-old Downtown branch library. It was a time of new beginnings for Spokane Public Library.

In what ways has your organization gotten involved with WLA or taken advantage of its benefits?

Our staff has participated in WLA in a wide variety of ways. From serving as a representative on the board of a Section to serving on the broader WLA Board to chairing conferences. We have staff who have made their public speaking debuts at conference sessions. It has been a great way for our staff to dip their toes into leadership and build skills that they might not otherwise use in the work life. Not to mention the staff that has learned new things at continuing education events and conferences.

What would you tell other organizations about being a WLA member?

Being an organizational member is a great way to support broader library work in Washington State. It really sets the tone that membership in a professional organization is important, not just for the individual, but as a library as well. It sends a message to staff that not only are we interested in their day to day work, but willing to be supportive of their work to improve and support library services throughout the state.

If someone were writing your organization’s biography, what would the title be?

Sharing Knowledge in the River City