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Pioneer Queens of Upper Kittitas County

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 Posted in Digital Collections, For the Public | No Comments »


Since 1969, residents of the Central Washington towns of Roslyn and Cle Elum have named an annual Pioneer Queen–a woman whose life and contributions to the community embody the history of Upper Kittitas County.

Erin Krake, librarian at the Roslyn Public Library, wanted to shine a light of the story of these women, “who built [our] town from the grown up, just as their men did so from the coal mines beneath it.” Beginning in 2012, Krake, and a team of local volunteers began digitizing the documentary evidence of these lives, by directly interviewing surviving Pioneer Queens and scanning their family photograph collections.

The Pioneer Queens of Upper Kittitas County Collection is the result of that effort, which the Roslyn Public Library envisions as an ongoing, multi-year project to tell the story of the settling of Roslyn and the surrounding area from the women’s point of view. According to Krake: “In each case, the stories are vibrant and unique, containing the common themes of family, food, work and play, good times and hard ones.”

 

Digitization Grant Cycle Open for Washington Rural Heritage

Friday, February 28th, 2014 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, Grants and Funding | No Comments »


Tom Whited sings "Strawberry Roan" to guests at his dude ranch in Kittitas County. Roslyn Heritage Collection.

Tom Whited sings “The Strawberry Roan” to guests at his dude ranch in Kittitas County. Roslyn Heritage Collection.

Would your library like to digitize its historical materials and special collections? Create an online community archive of unique materials from patrons’ family collections? Partner with local historical societies and other organizations to collaboratively digitize local history resources?

Washington Rural Heritage, the Washington State Library’s statewide digitization initiative for public and tribal libraries is currently accepting grant applications for 2014-2015. A total of $50,000 in LSTA funds is available to award five (5) or more grants up to $10,000 each.  To date, more than 90 cultural institutions (including 33 libraries) throughout Washington have contributed to this growing collection of digitized primary sources.

Learn more about the project and see a full list of contributors by visiting: www.washingtonruralheritage.org/cdm/aboutwrh

The application deadline for this grant cycle is Friday, May 9, 2014. To review eligibility requirements, grant guidelines, and to download grant applications, go to: www.sos.wa.gov/quicklinks/grants. For questions and to discuss potential projects, applicants are encouraged to contact Evan Robb, Washington Rural Heritage Project Manager, at (360) 704-5228 or evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.

New Digital Collection: Ocean Shores Heritage

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized | No Comments »


Larry Tommer with Japanese glass fishing float found near Ocean Shores, Washington.

Larry Tommer with Japanese glass float found near Ocean Shores, Washington, 1966.

A new digital collection from Ocean Shores, Washington documents the area’s rapid transformation from a sleepy, rural seaside locale to a developed resort community during the 1960s and 1970s. The Ocean Shores Heritage Collection includes material from the local history archives of the Ocean Shores Public Library, digitized in 2013. Digitization was made possible with assistance from the Washington State Library’s Washington Rural Heritage Initiative.

Standout material from the new collection includes:

Didi Anstett, 1968's Miss America, posing with the Ocean Shores Clam Prix oversized razor clam shovel.

Didi Anstett, 1968′s Miss USA, posing with the Ocean Shores Clam Prix oversized razor clam shovel.

Ocean Shores Public Library joins more than 90 cultural heritage organizations contributing to Washington Rural Heritage, a statewide collaborative digitization initiative coordinated by the Washington State Library.  Public libraries, tribal libraries, and partnering heritage institutions are eligible to participate in the project, which provides grant funding, training, digitization support, and digital collections hosting to its participants.

To learn more about participation, as well as upcoming digitization grant opportunities, please contact Evan Robb at the Washington State Library, evan.robb@sos.wa.gov, 360 704-5228

2013-2014 Washington Rural Heritage grants awarded

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding | No Comments »


Display of canned salmon at first Clallam County fair, 1895. North Olympic Heritage Collection.

Display of canned salmon at first Clallam County Fair, 1895. North Olympic Heritage Collection.

Congratulations to the latest group of Washington libraries and museums receiving 2013-2014 LSTA grant awards through the Washington Rural Heritage initiative!

  • Ellensburg Public Library.
  • Orcas Island Public Library, in partnership with the Orcas Island Historical Museum.
  • Port Angeles Public Library (North Olympic Library System).
  • Sedro-Woolley Public Library, in partnership with the Clear Lake Community Historical Association.
  • Sunnyside Library (Yakima Valley Libraries), in partnership with the Sunnyside Historical Society.
  • Walla Walla County Rural Library District.
  • Whitman County Library, in partnership with the Pine City Historical Society.

These organizations will spend the next year digitizing historically significant materials from their own holdings, the holdings of partnering heritage organizations, and in some cases, privately held collections. Read more about each specific grant project here.

Libraries currently participating in grant-funded digitization projects this year (FY 2012) are busy wrapping up their new collections as of this writing. Look for announcements here as new projects come online.

Funds for Washington Rural Heritage are made available by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For more information, contact Evan Robb, Project Manager, (360) 704-5228.

SNAPSHOT: A Day in the Life of the Washington State Library

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library | No Comments »


Local author Kevin O'Brien spoke at Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.

Local author Kevin O’Brien spoke at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library for Library Snapshot Day.

On Thursday, April 18, 2013 the Washington State Library participated in Washington Library Snapshot Day–a statewide effort to promote the important work libraries do every day. We collected usage statistics, customer comments, and photographs depicting everyday activities at the Washington State Library, its 17 branches, and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.

On Library Snapshot Day, the Washington State Library, including its branches throughout the state:

  • Was open for business for a total of 77.5 hours.
  • Answered 509 reference questions.
  • Was visited by 841 patrons (in-person).
  • Received 1,151 unique visitors to its website.
  • Circulated 3,453 items.
  • Provided 72 individual sessions to persons needing to use computers or access the Internet.
  • Mailed out 77 items for interlibrary loan.
WSL Special Collections Librarian Sean Lanksbury, shows a new collection of Washington fruit box labels to Assistant Secretary of State, Ken Raske.

WSL Special Collections Librarian Sean Lanksbury shows a new collection of Washington fruit box labels to Assistant Secretary of State, Ken Raske.

A few more numbers:

All in a day’s work!

For more great snapshots of life at the Washington State Library, click here.

Better Digital Collections, Comment by Comment

Thursday, January 24th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For the Public | No Comments »


Throughout 2012 we learned a great deal about how the unique resources in our Washington Rural Heritage collections are impacting end users–and we’re learning directly from the users themselves.  Since enabling the public commenting feature on our digital library software in January, 2012 we’ve received over 100 comments on items in more than 25 digital collections from throughout the state.  Here are a few standouts:

WM571_Westergreen_3_of_5

A user named “JRW” commented on this photo depicting logging on Alfred Gardene’s homestead in Everson, Washington:

 “So grateful to have found these photos! We now live on this very property and are in the midst of returning the homestead to historic glory.”

The Everson McBeath Community Library (Whatcom County Library System) has done a particularly good job at mobilizing community members to identify, date, and otherwise enrich records in its Nooksack Valley Heritage collection, which was recently published in late 2012.

BPC-10-057_Thomas_S_Kirk

 

A user named Melinda attached this nice note to a record describing the life of Ellensburg’s Thomas S. Kirk:

“We always called him Uncle Tom, he was married to my Grandmother Ida Suver Kirk. He was always so kind to me and created such nice memories as a child for me.”

This photo is one of roughly 1,300 portraits taken by amateur photographer Fred. L. Breckon, former Ellensburg City Engineer. Accompanied by detailed biographical information, this sub-collection is a valuable genealogical resource for Washington’s Kittitas Valley. The entire Fred L. Breckon portrait collection has been digitized by the Ellensburg Public Library and is available through its Ellensburg Heritage Collection.

 

 

VIH0025_Vashon_College_grads Another user named Byron recently added biographical information to an image of his uncle, shown here while attending Vashon College:

“Nice photo of my uncle, Chauncey Jones [left]. He went on to study medicine at the University of Chicago, studied humanities at UC Berkeley and practiced medicine and surgery in Everett, WA until his untimely death in 1944 at the age of 64 years. He was the son of A.C. and Mrs A.C. (Alonzo C. and Nettie Bentley) pictured in the photo taken in 1892 of the Vashon College faculty.”

Additional materials documenting Vashon College from 1890 to 1912 (when the original college closed), were digitized in 2008 by staff at the Vashon Library, King County Library System. They can be viewed as part of the larger Vashon Island Heritage Collection.

 

WCLCF022_Newton_and_CrawfordFinally, we’ve received more than a few corrections and identifications over the last year, including this correction to a striking group portrait photograph from Pullman, WA (two of the individuals had previously been misidentified):

“This photo is actually Clara Hull Newton (back left) and Nick (Earl H.) Newton (front left). They are my Great Grandparents. The Crawfords are identified correctly. –Marti Lothspeich Fulfs”

This photo is one of more than 2,000 documents from over 100 individual families (and counting) digitized by Whitman County Library as part of its Whitman County Heritage Collection.  Whitman County Library’s multi-year, community-based digitization efforts have brought participatory history to every town in the county, and continue to unearth hidden treasures in family collections throughout the greater Palouse region.

 

Prior to the integration of a public commenting feature in our digital collections, members of the public were forced to contact us by email if they had questions or corrections.  Needless to say, the amount and frequency of such feedback was much lower than it has been since implementing public commenting.  We look forward to more comments in 2013.  More identifications, dates, and stories. Without your participation, we’re simply history!

New Digital Collection: Nooksack Valley Heritage

Friday, September 28th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


 

Gordon and June Thompson in goat-drawn carriage, Everson, Washington, 1928.

A new digital collection from the Whatcom County Library System is providing access to historical materials first gathered more than a decade ago.  From 1995 to 1999, a collaborative, citizen-led effort in Whatcom County sought to document the unique primary sources found in family collections throughout the Nooksack River Valley.  Known as the Whatcom Memories Photograph and Interview Project, and co-sponsored by the Lynden Pioneer Museum and the Whatcom Museum of History and Art, the project solicited materials from private collections, photographed and described them, and returned them to their owners.  Since that time, the materials have only been available to researchers visiting these institutions in person.

For its 2011-2012 Washington Rural Heritage grant project, the Everson McBeath Community Library (a branch of the Whatcom County Library System) digitized more than 500 items from this project.  Focusing on the communities of Everson, Nooksack, Clearbrook, Glen Echo, and Hopewell, the collection includes material from more than 40 Whatcom County families, many of whom were original pioneers and homesteaders in the area.

Collection highlights include:

Congratulations to the staff and volunteers at the Everson McBeath Community Library for making this grant project a resounding success.  According to local project manager, Susan Johns: “With the digitization of this collection and online access through the Washington State Library, it is now available to anyone, anywhere. This will be an incredible resource for all present and future generations.”

Y.M.C.A. ascent of Mount Baker, Deming Glacier in background.

The Everson McBeath Community Library joins more than 80 cultural institutions in 30 communities throughout the state that have digitized material with assistance from the Washington Rural Heritage initiative. Washington Rural Heritage sub-grants are made possible with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

For more information about Washington Rural Heritage, contact Evan Robb, Project Manager: (360)704-5228, evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.

New digital collection: North Central Washington Heritage

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


Billie Legg picking apples in Manson, Washington, 1924

Billie Legg picking apples in Manson, Washington, 1924 - click image to see larger version

Just as this year’s Washington apple crop is shaping up to be the second most productive season on record, a new Washington Rural Heritage collection documents our state’s long history of agricultural abundance in the heart of apple-growing country. The Foodways & Byways of North Central Washington Collection illustrates how the production, acquisition, and distribution of local food has played a central role in the history and development of North Central Washington.

For its 2011-2012 LSTA grant project, the North Central Regional Library (with a service area comprising one quarter of Washington State’s geography) partnered with the Wenatchee-based Initiative for Rural Innovation and Stewardship (IRIS). The partnership hosted five community-based digitization events at NCRL branches in early 2012, where more than 100 historic photographs from private collections and local historical societies were digitized for the collection.  Bringing together a wealth of unique material from Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, and Okanogan counties, the collection topics range from hunting & fishing, to the fruit and grain industries, to herding and range management.

Highlights include:

Baseball and sheep, Grant County, Washington

Baseball and sheep, Grant County, Washington - click image to see larger version

Congratulations to the North Central Washington Heritage partners–they join more than 80 cultural institutions in 30 communities throughout the state that have digitized material with assistance from the Washington Rural Heritage initiative. Washington Rural Heritage sub-grants are made possible with Library Services and Technology Act funding provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

For more information about Washington Rural Heritage, contact Evan Robb, Project Manager: (360)704-5228, evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.

New Digital Collection: Connell Heritage

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


Map of the Columbia Basin Irrigation System

Washington Rural Heritage is pleased to announce one of several new digital collections being published this month.  From southeast Washington’s Franklin County, the Connell Heritage Collection marks the completion of a year-long grant funded project led by the Connell Branch of Mid-Columbia Libraries. In partnership with the Connell Heritage Museum and the Franklin County Graphic, this collaborative effort resulted in the digitization of more than 200 unique resources documenting a century of the town’s history.

Among the materials that are now digitized and full-text-searchable for the first time is The Beginnings of ConnellThis local history document that the story of Palouse Junction, a remote point along the Northern Pacific Railroad line in the 1880s which would later be renamed as Connell.  Most of Connell’s growth came after 1900, as more settlers began to move into the area.  Otto Olds’ reminiscences, Memories of a Pioneer, describe a challenging existence for early homesteaders:

 “I don’t remember much that happened that first year, only that we got a house and barn built out of 1 by 12′s standing on end. Dad managed to plow about 15 acres with a walking plow or ‘foot burner’ as they are called, and planted it to oats in the fall. We had to sell one of the cows as it took most of the daylight to haul water and cut sagebrush to clear the land. Dad and Uncle Ed got a harvest job by driving to Lind, thirty miles away. Dad got $3.50 a day, himself and four mules, so was able to buy our winter groceries.  Dad had arrived in Washington with $1,400. With this he had been able to pay the filing fee on 160 acres—which was about the same as the government betting it was impossible to live on the homestead five years without starving to death. If you survived, the 160 acres were yours.”

Steps of Presbyterian Church in Connell, WA, circa 1917

Presbyterian Church in Connell, ca. 1917 - present day home of Connell Heritage Museum

Additional highlights from the Connell Heritage collection include:

Congratulations to the Connell Heritage partners—they join more than 80 cultural institutions in 30 communities throughout the state that have digitized material with assistance from the Washington Rural Heritage initiative. Washington Rural Heritage sub-grants are made possible with Library Services and Technology Act funding provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

 

SNAPSHOT: A Day in the Life of the Washington State Library

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


WTBBL book recording supervisor Theresa shares a laugh with volunteer narrator Rick.

On Monday, April 9, the Washington State Library participated in Washington Library Snapshot Day–a statewide effort to promote the important work libraries do every day.  We collected usage statistics, customer comments, and photographs depicting everyday activities at the Washington State Library, its 16 branches, and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.

On Library Snapshot Day, the Washington State Library, including its branches throughout the state:

  • Was open for business for a total of 96.83 hours.
  • Answered 524 reference questions.
  • Was visited by 1,108 patrons (in-person).
  • Received 927 unique visitors to its website.
  • Circulated 4,493 items.
  • Provided 307 individual sessions to persons needing to use computers or access the Internet.
  • Provided one-on-one help with computers/technology 86 times.
  • Borrowed 66 items by interlibrary loan and lent out 17.
Jeannie Remillard and library assistants at SCCC

Jeannie Remillard and her crew at the Stafford Creek Correction Center Library in Aberdeen, WA.

A few more  numbers:

  • Washington library patrons asked 121 questions using the Ask-WA virtual reference service; libraries across the state answered 115 questions from around the world.
  • Our Digital Collections and Resources received 1,102 visits.
  • The WSL-coordinated Washington Anytime Library saw 575 new checkouts/downloads made by 421 unique patrons.  Of these, 389 transactions were eBooks, and 186 were audiobooks.
  • The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library saw 54 volunteer hours for the day.

All in a day’s work!

For more great snapshots of life at the Washington State Library, click here.