WA Secretary of State Blogs

Author Archive

Medical Lake Heritage project featured in Cheney Free Press

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 Posted in Digital Collections | No Comments »


A June 18, 2015 article in the Cheney Free Press highlights the exciting new digitization project from the Medical Lake Library, Spokane County Library District. View the article here.

New Digital Collection: Colville National Forest

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding | No Comments »


The Washington Rural Heritage project recently went live with a new digital collection from the northeast corner of our state. The Colville National Forest Collection provides access to a sampling of the archival photos, maps, and documents held by the Heritage Department at Colville National Forest Headquarters in Stevens County.

Of particular note are the photos of fire lookouts that once dotted the mountaintops of the Kettle River and Selkirk Mountain Ranges. These photos have been geo-referenced and placed on a “Story Map” so that users can fly from peak to peak, getting a glimpse of the varied lookout tower styles  as well as truly stunning panoramic photographs taken from the lookouts themselves—once important tools to the fire spotters that occupied the lookouts. Because most of these photos were produced by the U.S. Federal Government, they are in the public domain.

The collection represents a collaborative digitization project undertaken in 2014-2015 by the Colville National Forest and Libraries of Stevens County. According to Colville National Forest spokesman, Franklin Pemberton, “We love the idea of people having access to [the documents] – for research or for student projects. They capture the heritage of Northeast Washington before photos were widely available to average citizens.”

The Washington Rural Heritage project serves public and tribal libraries throughout Washington, as well as partnering organizations such as museums, local government, and schools. Headquartered at the Washington State Library (Office of the Secretary of State), the project is supported with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project’s 2015-2016 digitization grant cycle is currently accepting applications from eligible insitutions. To find out how your organization can participate in this statewide digitization initiative, please contact Digital Repository Librarian Evan Robb at evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.

 

2014-2015 Washington Rural Heritage grants awarded

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding | No Comments »


Harry Sutherland, pole vaulting at Eastsound, WA, May, 1915. From the Orcas Island Historical Museum, James T. Geoghegan Collection.

Harry Sutherland, pole vaulting at Eastsound, WA, May, 1915. From the Orcas Island Historical Museum, James T. Geoghegan Collection.

Congratulations to the latest group of Washington libraries and museum receiving 2014-2015 LSTA grant awards through the Washington Rural Heritage initiative!

A total of 16 Washington institutions (including eight public libraries administering the sub-grants) will collaborate to digitize historically significant primary sources over the next year. Those institutions are:

  • Columbia County Rural Library District, in partnership with the Blue Mountain Heritage Society and the Dayton Historic Depot.
  • Deming Library (Whatcom County Library System), in partnership with the Nesset Family Trust.
  • Kettle Falls Public Library (Libraries of Stevens County), in partnership with Colville National Forest.
  • Medical Lake Library (Spokane County Library District), in partnership with the Medical Lake Historical Society.
  • Orcas Island Public Library, in partnership with the Orcas Island Historical Museum.
  • Puyallup Public Library.
  • Roslyn Public Library, in partnership with the Roslyn Museum.
  • Whitman County Library, in partnership with the Staley Museum.

Click here to learn more about each specific grant award and digitization project.

Libraries currently participating in grant-funded digitization projects this year (FY 2013) 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.

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.