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Celebrating 160 years as Washington’s flagship library

by Brian Zylstra | October 15th, 2013


Way back on October 23, 1853, a shipment including 2,000 books reached the Olympia waterfront after traveling from New York City, around the  tip of South America and then stopping briefly in San Francisco. The arrival of those  books, maps, globes and other items led to the birth of Washington’s oldest cultural institution — the Washington Territorial Library, now known as the Washington State Library.

In honor of  the Territorial Library’s 160th anniversary, the State Library planned a celebration at 2 p.m. Tuesday at its headquarters, 6880 Capitol Blvd. in Tumwater. The public was invited.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman and State Librarian Rand Simmons have been busy marking the upcoming anniversary, having their photo taken with Gov. Jay Inslee in the Governor’s Mansion Library (above) and with State Library staff, local librarians, historians and past State Librarians at the Olympia waterfront near the exact location where the library’s collection was delivered 160 years ago.

The State Library has been part of the Office of Secretary of State since 2002.



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