Institutional Library Services
Click HERE to visit the wishlists on the Washington Center for the Book page. Your purchases will help patrons in prisons and state hospitals.
With spirit and fortitude, ILS branch staff enhances the quality of life for unique populations by providing a welcoming, neutral and secure place where informational, educational, and recreational needs are met.
About ILS Libraries
Department of Social and Health Service Libraries
Department of Corrections Libraries
Books, Films, Magazines and Reference Material
Percipience – collections of poetry from the Institutional Library Services Poetry Months
About ILS Libraries
The Washington State Library (WSL) partners with the Department of Corrections (DOC), the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), and the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) to provide library services to incarcerated individuals in adult correctional facilities, patients in adult psychiatric hospitals, and youth in juvenile detention facilities. There are currently eleven ILS branches throughout the state (see below for individual branch information); an additional branch is currently in the process of opening at the Washington State Penitentiary South Complex. ILS strives to provide a welcoming, neutral place where informational, educational, and recreational needs are met.
In addition to the library’s presence, individuals in these facilities have the benefit of a diverse array of educational, therapeutic, family, and cultural/religious services as well as enrichment programs, including sustainability projects and animal care programs. Programs and services such as these serve to contribute to recovery, personal growth, and constructive use of time for those that reside in these institutions, as do library programs and collections. ILS collections, which consist of a variety of books, audiobooks, magazines, film, and music, specially emphasize topics related to reentry, recovery, self-improvement, self-paced learning, digital literacy, consumer medical information, and small business information. Access to these materials supports a positive culture of learning and growth for both staff and patrons.
Eastern State Hospital (ESH)
Eastern State Hospital for the Insane was established in 1891, and currently houses approximately 300 patients. It is nestled in the heart of Medical Lake, a quaint community with an abundance of wildlife and small-town charm located just west of Spokane. One of ILS's smallest branches, the library's collection of just under 10,000 items is located in the hospital's Active Treatment Mall, right across the hall from the patients' bowling alley.
Western State Hospital (WSH)
The state's first public psychiatric hospital, Western State Hospital is located in historic Lakewood, 30 miles southwest of Seattle. It began operations in 1871, and houses approximately 800 patients; ILS has served the library needs of its patients for more than 50 years. Today, the WSH library serves its patrons with a collection of over 13,000 items, with an emphasis on education and personal enrichment. Through the outreach delivery program, the library is able to reach every unit in the hospital, allowing patients unable to come to the library to access its services.
Airway Heights Corrections Center (AHCC)
Airway Heights Corrections Center opened its doors in 1992 on a 160 acre parcel in Airway Heights, 10 miles west of Spokane. Today, the library provides services to AHCC's 1500 inmates with around 19,000 items in its collection; as one of the larger libraries in the system, the AHCC library stays busy with up to 50 patrons at any given time. When they're not in the library, inmates at AHCC benefit from a number of educational and vocational programs, including beekeeping and computer refurbishing.
Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC)
In 1985, the Clallam Bay Corrections Center opened its doors to 900 inmates. Located in Clallam Bay, a small town on the northern Olympic Peninsula coast known for its fishing and outdoor summer recreation, CBCC now has the distinction of being the most remote prison within the Washington State Department of Corrections. The library houses over 13,000 items and serve over 700 patrons.
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center (CRCC)
The newest corrections center in the state is Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, which opened its doors in 2008 in the small railway town of Connell in southeastern Washington. The CRCC library is one of the largest in the system, serving over 2,000 inmates; it supports patrons studying computer programming, basic computer skills, HVAC systems, environmental sustainability and other fields via its collection of more than 16,000 items.
Stafford Creek Corrections Center (SCCC)
Stafford Creek Corrections Center opened its doors to almost 2,000 inmates in 2000. Located in Aberdeen, inmates of SCCC enjoy a variety of programs that allow them to contribute to the surrounding community, including a charitable bike repair program and the much-beloved dog training program. SCCC also has a unique Skill Builders program that helps individuals with intellectual, developmental, and neurological problems learn real-world skills; the library contributes to this initiative through literacy-building efforts and programs. One of ILS's largest branches, this library houses over 22,000 items.
Twin Rivers Unit of the Monroe Correctional Complex (TRU)
The library at the Twin Rivers Unit of the Monroe Correctional Complex has been providing service to its patrons since 1984. With a wide collection of nearly 15,000 items, the population of around 800 inmates can browse and find a variety of materials at the library, including reentry materials and materials that support participation in TRU's many sustainability and education programs.
Washington Corrections Center (WCC)
Washington Corrections Center is unique in the state of Washington, as it is the DOC receiving center for everyone who will be incarcerated in a men’s facility, with an average annual transfer rate of 12,000 individuals into the system. Located in Shelton on the Puget Sound, WCC provides a number of horticultural, agricultural, and sustainability programming opportunities for inmates; the garden program alone has supplied over 84,000 pounds of produce to food banks in Washington over the last 5 years. The library at WCC serves around 500 patrons who are long term residents in the Training Center and Intensive Management Unit, and has a collection of almost 14,000 items. Because WCC has the highest release rate of any DOC institution, the library focuses heavily on providing reentry materials and programming to its patrons.
Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW)
The library opened its doors to the patrons of the Washington Corrections Center for Women in 1971; it currently serves approximately 900 inmates, and houses more than 19,000 items in its collection. The programs, treatment, health services, facility and staff training are all directed by gender responsive principles in order to make a safer and more supportive environment for WCCW inmates. The facility also has a nursery known as the Residential Parenting Program that allows participants who give birth while incarcerated to live with their children in a special unit where they can learn parenting skills and gain knowledge about child development. ILS supports early literacy and learning through a storytime called Baby Reads.
Washington State Penitentiary (WSP)
Washington State Penitentiary, the oldest corrections facility in the state, is located in Walla Walla, near the Washington-Oregon border. It has a rich history starting with its construction in 1886; although the facility has expanded over the years, some of the original structure - built with stone extracted from the Columbia River - remain in place today. ILS has served the library needs of WSP for over 50 years; in 2007 the West Complex branch opened to serve over 1,300 inmates with its collection consisting of approximately 15,000 items. In late 2020, a second ILS branch will begin to serve WSP's medium security inmates at its South Complex. See bibliography below for books about the Washington State Penitentiary.
Interlibrary Loan Services for DOC Minimum Security Facilities
DOC minimum security facilities do not have ILS libraries. To supplement in-house collections made up largely of donated books, inmates at those facilities can request to borrow any item that is owned by the ILS libraries through the program's Interlibrary Loan Service.
Books, Films, Magazines, and Reference Material
Non-Fiction - DSHS
The Collected Schizophrenias Essays
by Esmé Weijun Wang. Greywolf Press , ©2019.
Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community's own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows with essays that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life.
Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice from my Bipolar Life
by by Ellen Forney. Fantagraphics Books Inc., ©2019.
Sequel to her graphic memoir "Marbles." "Rock Steady" offers a self-help guide of tips, tricks and tools by someone who has been through it all and come through stronger for it.
Non-Fiction - DOC
Are Prisons Obsolete?
by Angela Yvonne Davis. Seven Stories Press, ©2003.
Former political prisoner Angela Davis makes a well-researched argument for the abolishment of the present-day American penal system and transformation of society.
Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex
by Eric A. Stanley (Editor); Nat Smith (Editor); CeCeMcDonald (Foreword). AK Press, ©2015.
A collection of writings from various contributors about the trans/queer experience in prison and the justice system, including Chelsea Manning, who writes about the relationship between military and the prison system.
College in Prison: Reading in an Age of Mass Incarceration
by Daniel Karpowitz. Rutgers University Press, ©2017.
A study that proves the value of providing educational resources in prisons.
Concrete Mama: Prison Profiles from Walla Walla
by Ethan Hoffman and John McCoy. University of Washington Press, ©2018.
Depicts the raw reality of prison life through a close-up look at Washington State Penitentiary; known to be the favorite prison-related book of many who served time there.
Decades Behind Bars: A 20-Year Conversation with Men in America's Prisons
by Gaye D. Holman. McFarland & Company, Inc., ©2017.
A teacher in correctional facilities addresses long-term consequences of incarceration through a series of discussions with both inmates and correctional facility staff.
Funhouse Mirror: Reflections on Prison
by Robert Ellis Gordon. Washington State University, ©2000.
This is a brutally honest and explicit book about Washington's prisons and inmates, authored by a writing teacher within the correctional system. The book paints a revealing portrait of those who are incarcerated. It also includes short stories written by the inmates.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson. Spiegel & Grau, ©2014.
This modern classic tells the story of Stevenson's organization, Equal Justice Initiative, founded to provide legal representation to those on death row whose poverty and alienation have seen them condemned to death without any adequate legal assistance.
Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America
by James Forman, Jr. FSG, ©2018.
This Pulitzer Prize winning book was written by a former public defender with unique insights into the racism inherent in our criminal justice system.
Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America
by Jonathan Simon. New Press, ©2014.
A leading criminologist contends that overcrowded prisons violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
The McNeil Century: The Life and Times of an Island Prison
by Paul W. Keve. Nelson-Hall, ©2018.
An analysis of the historical events and special operating conditions that made prison life at McNeil Island in Washington State more safe and humane than at most other penitentiaries.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander. New Press, ©2011.
The book that brought to light the huge racial disparities in our prison system, and informed the modern movement against mass incarceration.
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
by Monique W. Morris. The New Press, ©2015.
For four years, Morris chronicled the experiences of black girls across the country whose intricate lives are misunderstood and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish, resulting in them being the fastest growing population in the juvenile justice system.
The Second Chance Club: Hardship and Hope after Prison
by Jason Matthew Hardy. Simon & Schuster, ©2020.
A former parole officer uses case studies to examine the difficulties of reentering society after prison.
Understanding Mass Incarceration: An Introduction to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time
by James William Kilgore. New Press, ©2015.
Written by a formerly incarcerated individual, this is a survey of various criminal justice theories and an analysis of factors that contribute to mass incarceration.
Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair
by Danielle Sered. New Press,©2019.
Analyses of mass incarceration often look at non-violent crimes, especially those that are drug-related; this book tackles the problem of those who commit violent crimes.
Memoirs - DSHS
The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
by Elyn R. Saks. Hyperion, ©2007.
A memoir of paranoid schizophrenia by an accomplished professor recounts her first symptoms at the age of eight, her efforts to hide the severity of her condition, and the obstacles she has overcome in the course of her treatment and marriage.
Crazy: A Father’s Search through American’s Mental Health Madness
by Pete Earley. G.P. Putnam's Sons,©2007.
Journalist Pete Earley used all his investigative skills to chronicle the tragedy that befell his mentally ill son and others he came into contact with at various jails, hospitals and halfway houses. He has concluded that America’s mental health system is broken—and needs major reform.
Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family
by Robert Kolker. Doubleday,©2020.
The heartrending story of an American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science's great hope in the quest to understand the disease.
Madness: A Bipolar Life
by Marya Hornbacher. Fourth Estate, ©2008.
Author Marya Hornbacher has written candidly about how substance abuse and undiagnosed bipolar disorder nearly destroyed her and how she rebuilt a new life for herself.
Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir
by Ellen Forney. Avery, ©2012.
This graphic novel memoir tells the story of artist Ellen Forney, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 30 and feared that medication would destroy her artistic dreams. She sought solace in learning about how other great artists in history coped with their mood swings.
RX: A Graphic Memoir
Grand Central Publishing, ©2018.
This graphic novel memoir depicts the odyssey of the author's struggle to claim her autonomy during and after treatment at a psychiatric hospital for bipolar disorder.
Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
by David Lovelace. Plume, ©2008.
Most of David Lovelace’s family has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. David treated his wild mood swings with hard living, until he finally came to terms with both the disease and his desire to live a meaningful life.
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
by Kay Redfield Jamison. Picador, ©2015.
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison has written a modern classic about her journey towards accepting her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and developing a successful recovery plan.
by Carrie Fisher ©2008.
Author, actress and advocate Carrie Fisher talks about her celebrity upbringing and bouts with substance abuse and bipolar disorder.
Memoirs - DOC
After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom
by Alice Marie Johnson. HarperCollins, ©2019.
Johnson was sentenced to life in prison for a non-violent drug offense and finally had her sentence commuted after twenty years. Her memoir gives readers insight into what it's like to spend so much time behind bars, and how to make that time useful.
Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women
by Susan Burton. The New Press, ©2019.
Susan Burton movingly recounts her own journey through the criminal justice system and her transformation into a life of advocacy.
by Reginald Dwayne Betts. W.W. Norton & Company, ©2019.
The effects of incarceration are expressed through a range of poems that reveal the inadequacies of our criminal justice system.
Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America
by Nathan McCall. Vintage Books, ©1994.
Washington Post journalist Nathan McCall writes about his misspent youth as a habitual criminal and he tells about how his job as an inmate library clerk changed his life forever.
My Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose
by Chris Wilson with Bret Witter. G.P. Putnam's Sons, ©2020.
Wilson's sixteen years in prison were spent by setting and achieving goals that helped him prepare to have a life of purpose upon release.
Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist
by Alexander Berkman. AK Press, ©2017.
After he was convicted and sentenced for attempted murder, Berkman wrote of his coming of age as an inmate in a Pennsylvania prison from 1892-1906.
Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement: My Story of Transformation and Hope
by Albert Woodfox. Grove Press, ©2019.
Woodfox writes of his more than four decades in solitary confinement. Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.
Unusual punishment: Inside the Walla Walla Prison, 1970-1985
by Christopher Murray. WSU Press Washington State University Press, ©2016.
Murray provides an account of a fascinating experiment in prison administration, when the Washington State Penitentiary allowed prisoners considerable autonomy to organize and police their own affairs. This prison is one for which ILS operates a library branch.
Novels - DSHS
by Neal Shusterman, illustrated by Brendan Shusterman. Harpercollins Children's Books, ©2017\5.
This National Book Award winning novel explores the thoughts of a young man journeying through the inner landscapes of schizophrenia.
by Katharine Noel. Atlantic Monthly Press, ©2006.
From Printz Award–winning author An Na comes an emotional story of a girl determined to find a cure for the mental illness that swept her mother away, and could possibly destroy her own life as well.
The Place Between Breaths
by Barbara Claypole White. Lake Union Publishing, ©2018.
This sentimental tale explores the struggles inherent in parenting and maintaining meaningful relationships while struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
by Jayne Pupek. Algonquin Books, ©2008.
A novel about how mental illness affects every member of the family—as seen through the eyes of a child.
Turtles All the Way Down
by John Green. Dutton Books, ©2017.
Two friends try to unravel a missing person mystery while one is secretly unraveling from her obsessive compulsive thoughts.
by Carol Shields. Fourth Estate, ©2003.
A mother is frustrated in her attempts to understand and find help for her increasingly mentally disturbed daughter.
Novels - DOC
The Animal Factory
by Edward Bunker. No Exit, ©1977.
Drug dealer Ron Decker faces a short two year stint in San Quentin State Prison, so long as he can keep a spotless record - but that's easier said than done in a place where territory and status mean everything. Decker meets and forms a bond with Earl Copen, an old timer who has learned not just to survive but to thrive behind bars.
An Inmate’s Daughter
by Jan Walker. Raven Publishing, ©2006.
The compassionate story of Jenna, an inmate's daughter, gives us insight into the challenges of families with a loved one in prison. It reminds all of us that the viewpoint of a child can teach us much about acceptance and tolerance.
The Mars Room
by Rachel Kushner. Scribner, ©2018.
Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women's Correctional Facility, deep in California's Central Valley. Her grim new reality is a stark contrast to the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson.
On The Yard
by Malcolm Braly. Penguin Books, ©1967.
The author used his experience as an inmate of both juvenile and adult institutions to create a picture of the complex and frightening world of American prison life.
Yesterday Will Make You Cry
by Chester Himes. W.W. Norton, ©1998.
This classic novel is based on the author's experiences during his eight years in prison. Upon his release, he made a modest living free-lance writing; this hard-hitting novel was not accepted for publication for 16 years due to its graphic nature.
Young Adult Books - DSHS
(Don't) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health
by Kelly Jensen. Algonquin Young Readers, ©2018.
This collection explores a wide range of topics, from the authors' personal experiences with mental illness and understanding how our brains are wired, to exploring the do's and don'ts of talking about mental health.
by Mary Jane Auch. Yearling Book, ©1998.
This novel follows the struggles of a 12 year old pioneer girl in 1816 who must face hardships and her mother’s growing insanity.
by Jacqueline Woodson. Puffin Books, ©2002.
The story of a family who have to enter the Witness Protection Program, and the emotional fall-out that follows; award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson weaves a fascinating portrait of a thoughtful young girl's coming of age in a private world turned upside down.
The Road to God Knows (Graphic Novel)
by Von Allan. Allan Studio, ©2009.
Semi-autobiographical story of a young Canadian who struggles with the everyday torment of adolescence while witnessing her mother’s mental decline.
by Lois Lowry. Dell, ©1987.
A youthful friendship is tested when Rabble moves in with her best friend just as her friend's mother is taken away to be hospitalized.
Young Adult Books - DOC
Ruby on the Outside
by Nora Raleigh Baskin. Simon & Schuster, ©2016.
Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes has a real best friend for the first time ever, but agonizes over whether or not to tell her a secret she has never shared with anyone--that her mother has been in prison since Ruby was five--and over whether to express her anger to her mother. This novel accurately and sensitively addresses a subject too often overlooked.
Children's Books - DSHS
by Kate Spohn. Viking, ©1994.
A sympathetic portrait of a homeless woman who collects broken and discarded things, has strange dreams, and talks to herself.
Face at the Window
by Regina Hanson, illustrated by Linda Saport. Clarion Books, ©1997.
A wise and compassionate mother teaches her child not to fear or hate the “crazy” woman of the village.
My Brother Charlie
by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete, illustrated by Shane Evans. Scholastic Press, ©2010.
Callie describes all the ways her twin brother Charlie, who has autism, is both similar to her and different from her.
Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry
by Bebbe More Cambell, illustrated by Earl B. Lewis. Putnam's Sons,©2003.
A child is taught by her grandmother how to cope with her mother’s unpredictable mood swings.
Children's Books - DOC
Far Apart, Close in Heart: Being a Family when a Loved One is Incarcerated
by Becky Birtha, illustrated by Maja Kastelic. Albert Whitman & Company, ©2017.
Having an incarcerated loved one can be an overwhelming experience for children. Young readers will learn that sending letters, talking to a trusted grown-up about their feelings, and visiting a loved one in jail or prison can help keep a parent close in their hearts.
Kennedy's Big Visit
by Daphne Brooks. Archway Publishing, ©2015.
A little girl named Kennedy is very excited to visit her father who is incarcerated. This story is about a father and daughter bond that is unbreakable, despite their unique challenges.
Mama Loves Me from Away
by Pat Brisson, illustrated by Laurie Caple. Boyds Mills Press, ©2004.
When a mother and daughter are separated by a mother's incarceration, they find a special way to keep their loving relationship alive.
by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by James E. Ransome. Penguin Group,©2015.
A young girl and her grandmother prepare for a special day to visit the girl's father in prison, told in multi-award winning author Jacqueline Woodson's trademark lyrical style, and beautifully illustrated by James Ransome.
When Dad Was Away
by Liz Weir, illustrated by Karin Littlewood. Frances Lincoln Children's Books,©2013.
Milly feels angry and confused when her dad is sent to prison. This story offers recognizable experiences and comfort to children with incarcerated parents.
Documentary Films - DSHS
Back from Madness: the Struggle for Sanity
Directed by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg. Films for Humanities,©1996.
Filmmakers followed four patients at Harvard’s Massachusetts Hospital for a year—focusing on both the historic and current challenges for those living with psychiatric diagnosis.
King's Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution
Directed by Lucy Winer. Wildlight Productions, ©2011.
King's Park offers an inside look at public mental health care in America by focusing on the story of this now abandoned institution.
Out of The Shadow
Directed by Susan Smiley. Vine Street Productions, ©2004.
Intensively personal documentary by Susan Smiley, who interviewed her mother over several years as her mother underwent several hospitalizations, setbacks, and successes during her struggle with schizophrenia.
Running From Crazy
Directed by Barbara Kopple. Cabin Creek Films, © 2013.
This documentary examines the personal journey of Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of writer Ernest Hemingway, as she strives for a deeper understanding of her family's history of suicide, substance abuse, and mental illness.
When Medicine Got It Wrong
Directed by Katie Cadigan & Laura C. Murray. KQED, ©2009.
In 1974, a group of parents joined forces to hold psychiatry accountable for blaming schizophrenia on poor parenting. That movement sparked the beginning of the consumer advocate movement.
Documentary Films - DOC
Directed by Ava DuVernay. Forward Movement, ©2016.
In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.
College Behind Bars
Directed by Lynn Novick. Florentine Films, ©2019.
This four part documentary series shows the experiences of a dozen incarcerated men and women trying to earn college degrees and a chance at new beginnings from one of the country's most rigorous prison education programs. This series reveals the transformative power of education.
Doing Time: Life Inside the Big House
Directed by Alan Raymond. Video Verite,©1991.
This documentary looks at life within the walls of the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa., one-time home to Al Capone, Alger Hiss, and Jimmy Hoffa. Examines the daily routines of prisoners, guards, and the warden.
Feature Films - DSHS
A Beautiful Mind
Directed by Ron Howard. Universal Pictures, ©2001.
Based on the true story of Nobel Prize winner John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who spent years overwhelmed by his schizophrenic delusions.
Directed by Joseph Greco. LMG Pictures, ©2006.
Outstanding portrayal of the challenges faced by a man and his young son when the woman in their lives is hospitalized for schizophrenia.
Directed by Petter Naess. Maipo Film, ©2001.
Two young men leave their state-funded institution and share an apartment in Oslo, Norway that leads to touching and hilarious results.
Infinitely Polar Bear
Directed by Maya Forbes. Paper Street Films, ©2014.
Just released from a psychiatric hospital, a man with bipolar disorder is asked to care for his two rambunctious daughters while their mother attends college in another state.
Directed by Pete Docter. Pixar Animation Studios, ©2015.
Like all of us, 11-year-old Riley is guided by her emotions: Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness. Her emotions live in the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life.
It's Kind of a Funny Story
Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck. Focus Features, ©2010.
Based on the semi-autobiographical novel about a teenager who admits himself into a mental health clinic as a means of keeping himself from committing suicide. He finds much to learn and live for.
Directed by Lee Grant. Gaylord Productions,©1986.
Based on the autobiography of Marie Balter who spent most of her youth institutionalized. With love and hope, she created a life for herself most would have considered impossible.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Directed by Stephen Chbosky. Summit Entertainment,©2012.
After being discharged from a psychiatric facility, a troubled high school freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.
Silver Lining Play Book
Directed by David O. Russell. The Weinstein Company, ©2012.
Pat, who suffers from bipolar disorder, has lost everything: his house, his job, his wife. Now he must create his own "playbook" to rebuild a new life.
The Skeleton Twins
Directed by Craig Johnson. Duplass Brothers Productions, ©2014.
Twins, who are privately struggling with emotional issues, are forced to rely on one another after one attempts suicide.
The Snake Pit
Directed by Anatole Litvak. Twentieth Century Fox, ©2014.
This classic film, which chronicles life in an early-20th century asylum, was one of the first to portray a mentally ill woman in a compassionate manner.
Directed by Joe Wright. Paramount, ©2009.
Journalist Steve Lopez was looking for a simple story when he became involved with a homeless L.A. man suffering from schizophrenia, who had once been a promising musician.
Directed by Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland. Lutzus-Brown,©2014.
Alice is a highly successful college professor who learns she has early onset dementia and must prepare for gradual impairment.
Feature Films - DOC
Directed by Edward James Olmos. Olmos Productions, ©1992.
Edward James Olmos directed and starred in this violent depiction of gang life in a Los Angeles barrio-- and later--prison life.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. Warner Bros. Pictures, ©2019.
World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner. Based on Stevenson's memoir.
Murder in the First
Directed by Marc Rocco. Warner Bros.,©1995.
This movie depicts the murder trial of Alcatraz inmate Henry Young that finally persuaded officials to close the institution.
Directed by Frank Darabont. Castle Rock Entertainment, ©1995.
Two convicts turn hope and friendship into an uplifting bond no prison can ever take away.
Websites - DSHS
MedlinePlusThis government website serves as a portal to various authoritative sites about health and drug issues. Sponsored by the U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health.
Mental Health America This is the organization founded in the 1920s by former psychiatric patient Clifford Beers.Beers autobiography A Mind That Found Itselfhelped to launch the first organization to champion civil rights for mentally disabled persons.
National Alliance on Mental Illness One of the nation’s most influential lobbying groups that was founded by parents who were frustrated by the stigma and lack of support / education about psychiatric disorders.
National Empowerment CenterPatient founded and supported organization that advocates for mental health reform and a greater voice in new psychiatric care models that include a greater voice from patients themselves.
National Institutes of HealthThis government website is dedicated to all aspects of public health issues and offers information about grants, funding and research.Offers links to other authoritative health information websites.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationThis government-supported website is dedicated to public education about both substance abuse and co-occuring mental disorders.
Websites - DOC
Youth.gov - Children of Incarcerated Parents
This government website has resources that help support youth with incarcerated parents.
Prison Library Information
Books Beyond Bars: The Transformative Potential of Prison Libraries
by Lisa Krolak. UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, ©August 2019.
A global look at how prison libraries in different countries provide services. This report looks at best practices and challenges in various environments, and outlines the many benefits of access to education and libraries in prison.
Checking out Books in Prison
by Rachel Friederich. ©April 6, 2018.
In this interview, seasoned ILS librarian Jeannie Remillard talks about what it's like to work in a prison library.
The Dynamics of Change: A History of the Washington State Library
by Maryan E. Reynolds with Joel Davis. Washington State University Press, ©2001.
Maryan Reynolds had a long run as Washington State Librarian from 1951 to 1974. Here, she provides a comprehensive history of the library, with a chapter devoted to our services in prisons and state hospitals (p.156-164).
Guidelines for library services to prisoners, 3d ed.
by Vibeke Lehmann & Joanne Locke. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, ©2005.
IFLA presents here a comprehensive set of recommendations for prison libraries, covering such areas as staffing, budget, library materials, services and programs.
Guidelines for library services to prisoners, 3d ed.
by Vibeke Lehmann y Joanne Locke. Traducido por Jenny Pérez Rodríguez. Federación Internacional de Asociaciones e Instituciones Bibliotecarias, ©2007.
La IFLA presenta aquí un conjunto completo de recomendaciones para las bibliotecas de las prisiones, que cubren áreas tales como personal, presupuesto, materiales de biblioteca, servicios y programas.
Institutional Library Snapshot Day
by Washington State Library. ALA, ©January 11, 2011.
Capturing a typical day in ILS branch libraries across the state, this document answers questions about circulation of library materials, types of reference questions received, and library programs provided. Comments from our library patrons provide a fascinating glimpse into the impact we have.
Library Services to the Incarcerated: Applying the Public Library Model in Correctional Facility Libraries
by Sheila Clark & Erica McCreaigh. Libraries Unlimited, ©2006.
Walking into one of the ILS libraries feels much like entering any small public library; this article stresses the importance of library service based on a public library ethos of free and equal access to information.
Library Standards for Adult Correctional Institutions
Association of Specialized Government and Cooperative Library Agencies (American Library Association), reviewed March 2020.
Although the ALA standards were written in 1992, they are still relevant recommendations for providing comprehensive library services in prisons.
PNR Rendezvous - Institutional Library Services in WA State - 03/21/18
from National Network of Libraries of Medicine [NNLM]. March 28, 2018.
In this March 21, 2018 webinar, two staff members from the Washington State Library Institutional Library Services (ILS) addressed the history of the ILS program, institutions served, circulation statistics, scope of services, and the accomplishments and challenges faced by ILS library staff.
Prison Librarianship: Creating Safer Communities
by Anna Nash & Adrienne Breznau. ALKI, July 2017.
This brief article, written by ILS librarian Anna Nash and former prison librarian Adrienne Breznau, is an excellent introduction to working in a prison library, and stresses the importance of connecting prisoners to the outside community for successful reentry.
Prison Librarianship Policy and Practice
by Suzanna Conrad. McFarland & Company,©2017.
This wide-ranging survey has an international scope in examining prison library policies, with a review of literature on the topic. Included are results from a survey and follow-up interviews.
Prison and Libraries: Public Service Inside and Out
by Stephen M. Lilienthal. Library Journal,©Feb. 4, 2013.
Several prison library systems are examined here, with an emphasis on partnerships with public libraries.
The Prison Library Primer: A Program for the Twenty-First Century
by Brenda Vogel. Scarecrow Press, ©2009.
A how-to guide on opening and operating a prison library, covering collection development, physical space design and furnishings, garnering community support, and more.
Prison Libraries the Scandinavian Way: An Overview of the Development and Operation of Prison Library Services
by Hilde Kristin Ljodal and Erlend Ra. Library Trends, ©2011.
In this comprehensive overview, the authors contrast the operations of prison libraries in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, with emphasis on partnerships with public libraries. The structure in Norway is particularly interesting, as prison libraries are considered part of the national library system and operated as branches of local public libraries.
Prison Walls, Library Doorways: Improving Library Access for Releasing Inmates
by Bo Kinney, Laura Sherbo, & Thomas Herrlinger. ALKI, ©March 2018.
ILS manager Laura Sherbo co-authored this article with two public librarians to discuss a program that provides public library cards to prisoners when they release. This innovative program provides a crucial connection to the services offered by public libraries and facilitates successful reentry.
Reading Behind Bars: A True Story of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian
by Jill A. Grunenwald. Skyhorse, 2019.
Grunenwald's memoir describes her experiences coming out of graduate school to a job in a prison library, where she discovers that library patrons in a prison are much like library patrons anywhere else.
Washington State Library’s Laura Sherbo Receives Leadership Award from ASCLA
American Library Association, April 3, 2012.
In 2012, ILS's own Laura Sherbo received the Leadership and Professional Achievement Award from ASCLA, the ALA division that at the time included prison libraries.