At a hearing today on a plan that aims to save the history museums in Tacoma, Spokane and Olympia by merging them with other cultural and arts programs, critics focused on the plan’s potential effect on the State Library.
The library would be consolidated into the new Department of Heritage, Arts and Culture under Rep. Jeannie Darneille’s bill. It would be funded in part by money that otherwise would be set aside for future construction of a new building to house the library and history-related programs.
Library supporters said it’s working well in its current home, Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office, and shouldn’t move to a new agency. Some also worried about snatching money from the planned building on the Capitol Campus, the Heritage Center.
The audience at the hearing was full of patrons of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, a part of the State Library that serves the blind.
Among the users of the downtown Seattle braille library’s 459,000-item collection is Greg Jack of Olympia, who has used it since he was a boy growing up in Spokane. Jack checks out several books a month, both audiobooks that he downloads and braille books that come by mail. Just now he’s reading Typee by Herman Melville. Read more »