WA Secretary of State Blogs

The Lives and Times of Bookmobile Librarians – A piece of our library history.

July 28th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public 1 Comment »

bookmobile “Never were maidens more ardently pursued than we were by the elements in the pioneer days of rural bookmobiles in the great Pacific Northwest.”

Thus begins the December 1947 issue of the Library News Bulletin (LNB). The LNB was a publication of the Washington State Library from 1932 – 1975, and one that we have recently decided to digitize.  It contains the early history of the libraries of Washington State.  They have been silently lurking on a shelf near my desk and have only today made themselves known to me.  What a treasure trove they are for those of you interested in Library history.  In the spirit of Steve Willis I pulled the aforementioned issue off the shelf and discovered an entire “Bulletin” dedicated to Bookmobiles. In 1947 bookmobiles were apparently the hot ticket in Washington.  These staunch librarians ventured out all over the state, bringing books to their most remote patrons.  Here are a series of quotes from the issue, including stories that they reported from their rounds.

“’I have an emergency request,’ Declared a ten year old bookmobile patron.  “My penguin is sick.  Have you a book telling what to do for a sick penguin?” – Snohomish County Library.

When the cranberry growers on the Burrows Road were too busy to come to the bookmobile in the midst of harvest this fall, driver Charles Jackson and librarian Mary Botten walked out on the bogs and helped with the harvesting.” – Grays Harbor County Library

“’My wife wants this book renewed.’ “I’m sorry sir but I have another reservation for that book.  I shall have to keep it for the next reader.’ “Good enough for her, serves her right.  I told her she should be reading her books instead of moving the furniture around the house to some new place where nobody can find anything.’” – Snohomish County Library

“At one stop, a woman and her two children always arrive in the family ‘jeep.’  She was absent one day, and the bookmobile had traveled several miles when the driver heard a queer sound and looked back to discover that we were being chased by a jeep!” – Whatcom County Library.

“Along a lonely country road a lady, scarcely middle-aged, flagged the bookmobile. ‘Could I have library books?  I can’t get to any of the scheduled stops and I am so ill that there is nothing left for me to do but read.’  Dropsy, from which she is suffering has already developed to such an extent that boarding the bookmobile is physical impossibility.  Our schedule was already crowded.  An added stop threw off the whole day’s program.  So what?  There were always the few minutes assigned to lunch. We found a way.” – Snohomish County Library

“The traveling library again reaches the flats and there stands ‘Grandpap,” one-eyed and 90 years old, with his book-filled suitcase ready for exchange, A woman, nearly out of breath, hurries into the library gasping, ‘I was in Vancouver and I almost didn’t get back in time to meet you here and I just don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have anything to read.” – Clark County Library

“One of our patrons had trouble remembering when he should go to the bookmobile and always arrived just as we were pulling away from the stop.  One day he arrived exactly on time and someone asked him how it happened.  ‘Oh,’ he replied, ‘my wife sets the alarm for me now, so I’ll know when to leave the house.’” – Whatcom county Library

“At one of our stops the patrons rate only second in our affections.  A little golden cocker spaniel is always there to greet us.  He barks his welcome and wags his tail impatiently until the door is opened, and in he jumps to receive our words of greeting.  After a quick inspection to be sure everything is ship-shape and the librarian and driver on deck, he skips out, quite satisfied that he has exercised true community spirit by recognizing and appreciating the new bookmobile and its staff.” – Snohomish County Library. 

Now a days we reach our patrons on bicycles, at festivals, by email, through electronic chat, and on and on.  These bookmobile stories are just an early example of what we did and what we still do as librarians. We go where our patrons are.  Have a good story to share of going that “extra mile” for your patrons?  Tell us in the comments.

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Clippings July 24, 2015

July 24th, 2015 Marilyn Lindholm Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, News, Updates No Comments »

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Library Clippings for the week of July 24, 2015

Library News

SCLD gathers input to impact society
Spokane County Library District’s (SCLD) Community Impact Plan for 2013-2015 focused on four areas: to develop young learners, explore and discover, support job seekers and local businesses, and connect communities. In many areas, SCLD exceeded the challenging objectives that it set for itself. SCLD is currently in the beginning stages of work on the 2016-2018 plan. The Board of Trustees will approve the new plan by December 2015. (The Current, Liberty Lake, 7/–/15)


New chapter for U-City
Local leaders believe plans for nearly $30 million in development could be a sign that glory days will return to the area near University and Sprague. Included in this figure is a new $14 million Spokane Valley City Hall. A second project across the street is in the hands of voters. A new $14.5 million Spokane Valley Library would be the centerpiece of a $22 million bond proposal the Spokane County Library District is asking voters to consider August 4. The new library would blend its campus with an expansion of Balfour Park. (The Current, Liberty Lake, 7/–/15)
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Horrible Murder!! – The Case of the Aged Bride

July 24th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Technology and Resources, Uncategorized No Comments »

From the desk of Marlys Rudeen
I will admit to a weakness for a murder mystery – but one from the early 1920’s with shady characters, a missing trunk, divers in Lake Union, forgery, fraud and general unsavoriness?  Well, that’s irresistible.  And all done up in purple prose by the Seattle Star?  Even better!

Feel free to follow the story yourself by looking at the Seattle Star in Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87093407/issues/1921/).  I’ve listed the dates and pages below.


May 25, 1921, p. 1

Meet James and Kate Mahoney.  James is 37, an ex-convict, paroled from Walla Walla in December of the previous year after assault and robbery charges in Spokane, and a former train conductor before that.  He is being held on forgery charges at the time the story breaks.  He marries Kate Mooers on Feb. 19, 1921.  Kate is 72 and quite well off, owning several buildings in Seattle.   Kate Mooers is the former Kate Keeler “whose dance hall and allied activities at Butte in the late 80s were celebrated thruout the Northwest.”  (Hard to see what could go wrong.)

A few months after the wedding the “aged and wealthy bride” is missing.  Her husband insists she is traveling… in Cuba.  The Captain of Detectives is planning on dragging Lake Union for a mysterious trunk. And James Mahoney “the ex-convict bridegroom” is held in the city jail on charges of forging various documents that allow him access to his wife’s resources.

Mahoney insists that they went to St. Paul, MN for their honeymoon, where they quarreled (coincidentally after Mrs. Mahoney signed papers allowing her husband power-of-attorney and access to her safety deposit box.)  The bride then departed to travel to Havana via New York.  The forgery charge arose after he used the papers to gain access to the safety deposit box.

In the weeks and months to come there are rumors, mysterious witnesses, blind alleys of inquiry, charges and countercharges, dueling lawyers and a cast of peculiar characters.  I’ve tried to list some of the more significant points on the timeline below.

May 26, 1921, p.1

A trunk lid and hair found in Lake Union by a houseboat resident near the Lake Union auxiliary power plant!  (Not the right trunk.)

A floating body seen in the bay at Edmonds! (Later determined to be a logger – May 27, 1921)

Mahoney sends a telegram to his wife care of the  N.Y. hotel where they had reportedly arranged to meet after her travels!  (No one has seen her there.)

May 27, 1921, p. 1

The female friend of one of the witnesses against Mahoney goes missing.  Rumors spread that Mahoney’s first wife also disappeared on a trip east.  Officials continue to drag Lake Union. 

May 28, 1921 p. 1

When grappling hooks fail to produce a body, divers (looking like something out of Jules Verne) are brought in to search Lake Union.  They fail to find a body.  Due to testimony of witnesses seeing someone like Mahoney rowing about Lake Union in the dead of night in a small white boat with some sort of large object in the stern, Capt. Tennant of the police remains convinced the body will be found in the Lake.

Mrs. Mahoney’s niece insists a letter, purportedly from her aunt, is a forgery.

May 30, 1921, p. 1

Stories and counterstories continue.  Mahoney’s first wife is located alive! (Score for Mahoney.) But says she left him because he was smuggling opium and tried to kill her! (Score for the police.)

May 31, 1921, p. 1

Mystery witness claims to have heard Mahoney jest about his wife’s death.  Divers still searching.  Police assert the Mahoneys did not board the train for St. Paul as claimed.

June 2, 1921, p. 1

A submarine or U-boat sled is brought in to be used in search.  Forgery hearing set for June 14.

As the days and weeks go by, the story occupies less and less space in the paper.  The County Commissioners offer a reward for information about Mrs. Mahoney’s whereabouts (June 2).  The search for the trunk goes on, but one can imagine that Capt. Tennant of the police is beginning to get some odd looks around headquarters.

July 30, 1921

Headlines again when a trunk (empty) is found in Lake Union.

And finally – Aug. 9, 1921, p. 1

The trunk is found with a badly decomposed body! Mahoney is back in jail.  The body is identified as Kate Mahoney by the wedding ring and false teeth.

Aug. 10, 1921, p. 1

Mahoney announces he will make a fight of it at his trial, and five people attempt to claim the reward for finding the trunk. Police search for a hammer which they believe was the murder weapon, along with poison, and sightseers from all walks of life visit the morgue to observe the remains.

There are then several days of reporting on various facets of the case leading up to trial.

Aug. 13, 1921, p. 1

This piece concentrates on the expected testimony of the expressmen that conveyed the trunk from the Mahoney apartment to Lake Union at Mahoney’s request.

Aug. 16, 1921, p. 1

There are reports of Mahoney’s increasingly odd behavior in jail and how his possible insanity would affect the trial.

Aug. 17, 1921, p.1

Mahoney is brought before a board of physicians to evaluate his mental ability to understand trial procedures and the charges against him.

Aug. 18, 1921, p. 1

Mahoney is declared sane, and doctors remark that he overplayed his role.  His mother and sister in an effort to help ”admitted that insanity was rampant in their family tree.”

(Probably not as helpful as they might have wished.)

Various legal maneuvers take up several weeks and are boring enough not to make the front page.  Plus the escape and pursuit of a convict from McNeil Island provides enough thrill for the reporters.

Sept. 19, 1921, p. 1

The case is back on the front page just before trial, with fellow prisoners charging that Mahoney plans to shoot up the courtroom.  Sightings of Mrs. Mahoney – alive – are also reported.  (But never verified.)

Sept. 20, 1921, p. 1

At the beginning of the trial process, one reporter interviews Mahoney and remarks, “Jim Mahoney ‘went insane’ in his cell again at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon…”  A history of the case is printed to assist folks in following the trial, and a lengthy jury selection begins.

Sept. 22, 1921 and following

Actual arguments and testimony begin and continue over several days with both prosecutor and defense attorney scoring points, shaking witnesses, and building their cases.  Mahoney gives an interview every few days.

Oct. 3, 1921, p. 1

Verdict of guilty is returned on Oct. 3.  Mahoney’s lawyer announces plans to appeal. 

Dec. 1, 1922, p. 1

More than a year later, James Mahoney is executed on Dec. 1, 1922, at the State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.  His demeanor is described (stoic), as is his smile (sour).  One side article describes the reaction of his mother to the notification of his death.  Another describes how his 13-year-old niece, Margaret, led him “back to the faith in which he had been raised.”

The Seattle Star was digitized through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the National Digital Newspaper Program.  The Star and many other American newspapers can be found online at Chronicling America (chroniclingamerica.loc.gov) at the Library of Congress.

Additional newspapers for Washington can be found at Historic Newspapers (www.sos.wa.gov/legacy/newspapers.aspx) at the Washington State Library’s web site.  The State Library is a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

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WSL Updates for July 23, 2015

July 23rd, 2015 Diane Hutchins Posted in Digital Literacy, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates No Comments »

Volume 11, July 23, 2015 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:









Have you heard? Funding for the Microsoft IT Academy was renewed for another two years, providing free access for all Washington residents through August 2017. Along with the online courses, Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification will continue, and we’ll soon introduce a new resource for digital literacy certification.

Join us for one of two online meetings to learn more and share ideas and best practices for the future of the IT Academy. Sessions will be held:

  • Wednesday, August 13 from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. PDT
  • Tuesday, August 18 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. PDT

A few minutes before the scheduled time, click to join the meeting.

Questions? Contact Elizabeth Iaukea, Project Manager Microsoft IT Academy at 360-570-5578 or elizabeth.iaukea@sos.wa.gov



Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, is recruiting for three Library & Archive Paraprofessional positions at three correctional facilities.

For more information, please visit Branch Library Associate (In-training LAPP5)

Please share this announcement with anyone who may be interested.



Would your library’s patrons like to explore some tech devices? Would your library’s staff like some hands-on experience with Kindle, Nooks, IPads, etc.? The Gadget Menagerie kits are available for loan to Washington libraries.

For details, please contact Joe Olayvar, Library Development, Washington State Library at olayvar@sos.wa.gov.



The Washington State Library recently awarded 10 grants totaling $72,881.96 to public, academic, school and tribal libraries to support digital literacy efforts. Projects include career classes, new online curriculum, STEAM programs, family activities, and the Microsoft IT Academy.

Congratulations to the 10 recipients of the 2015 Digital Literacy grants:

  • Asotin County Library
  • Ellensburg Public Library
  • Garry Middle School
  • Garfield High School
  • Nine Mile Falls School District
  • Lakeside High School
  • Nooksack Indian Tribe
  • Pierce County Library System
  • Seattle World Schools
  • Wenatchee Valley College
  • Whitman County Rural Library District

We will be working closely with the recipients to support the maximum success of their projects during the next year.



Since counties are mailing primary election ballots to voters now, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) and Secretary of State’s (SOS) Elections Division request Washington libraries consider adding voter information to library websites. Libraries across the state have always been wonderful partners in relaying information to voters on behalf of the PDC and SOS. Please help us move that partnership online, so that visitors to library websites can access voter resources with just a click of the mouse.

Questions about the PDC link should be directed to Lori Anderson, PDC Communications & Training Officer. SOS Deputy Elections Director Allyson Ruppenthal can answer questions about the MyVote link.



July 27

  • The Art and Science of Working Remotely (InSync); 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PDT

July 28

  • Data inclusiveness benefits for all (O’Reilly); 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. PDT

July 29

  • Crowdfunding for Libraries: Technology Tips for Futuristic Fundraising (TechSoup); 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT
  • Open Educational Resources: Librarians as Advocates, Advisors, and Creators (Georgia Library Association); 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT


For more information and to register (unless otherwise linked above), visit the WSL Training Calendar at sos.wa.gov/q/training.


The Washington State Library has gone social! Friend/follow us at:

   Facebook: on.fb.me/FBWSL;

   Twitter: twitter.com/WAStateLib.



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Poetry and Community at the Washington Corrections Center

July 20th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services No Comments »

From the desk of Jessica Aws, Library Associate at the Washington Corrections Center.

Poetry Workshop 4-7-15(6)During April, the Washington Corrections Center Branch of the Washington State Library was a gathering place of poets. In celebration of National Poetry Month, the WCC library hosted a series of events aimed at encouraging artistic expression and building community bridges.

The events of the month kicked off with a poetry workshop that was facilitated by Suzanne Simons, a professor of Writing, Journalism, and Social Sciences at The Evergreen State College. Ms. Simons began the workshop by asking each of the 22 men who participated to introduce themselves and share what poetry means to them. Their words were powerful:

“Poetry is like breath. When I’m drowning in emotion…when I feel like I’ve dived down into a deep lake of it…when I start writing it feels like the first breath you take after being underwater for a long time.”

“Before, I had trouble expressing myself. I didn’t talk much. But then I started putting pen to pad and it gave me power. It gave me a voice.”

“I didn’t read much before I went to the hole awhile back, but when I was there I read a lot. I became a lover of words and a seeker of knowledge. When I write poetry, I try to capture the moment and bottle it up on paper.”

Over the course of two hours, as the men completed generative writing exercises and shared their work, the energy in the library was overwhelmingly positive and supportive. Every time one of the participants shared their poetry or gave a particularly insightful response, their words were greeting by a chorus of snapping fingers and murmurs of encouragement.

This atmosphere continued over the next several weeks, through two spoken word workshops taught by Christina St. Charles, a former theater student from The Evergreen State College. She has since begun a successful theater group at WCC. I don’t think the library has ever seen so much laughter, as the men good naturedly participated in voice exercises and tongue twisters. At the same time, I also don’t think that the library has ever seen so much raw emotion. At one point, one of the offenders read a poem that he had written while spending 27 months in solitary confinement. When he was finished, there were very few dry eyes in the group. “Most of us here can relate to those words,” one man said, “we’ve all been there. We’ve felt those emotions, and it takes a lot of courage to put that on paper, and even more to stand up in front of us all and say those words out loud.”

While every workshop was a resounding success, the real highlight of National Poetry Month at WCC was the Poet’s Open Mic event held on May 2nd, 2015. It was truly a community event, in which over 30 offenders, plus students and faculty from Suzanne Simon’s Poetry in Community class and DOC staff from several departments came together to share poetry in a positive and uplifting event that was “scandalous good” according to one audience member. 

Throughout these events, what struck both staff and offenders alike was the ability for these men to be vulnerable. To be raw. To share things with each other that they never would have outside of these programs. “These events not only allowed us to open up for ourselves, but also made it possible for those of us who have lived such a segregated lifestyle to open up to others. Thank you for this source of freedom that many of us have not been able to experience in years!” 

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Clippings July 17, 2015

July 17th, 2015 Marilyn Lindholm Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, News, Updates No Comments »

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Library Clippings for the week of July 17, 2015

Library News

Mid-Columbia Libraries develop auto-renewal service
Mid-Columbia Libraries developed an auto-renewal service which went into effect on June 10. Auto-renewal is a service that automatically renews library materials that have not been requested by another customer and are eligible for renewal. The system tracks the status of all materials and knows which can be renewed and which are needed back to share with another customer. Items that are requested by another customer will not be renewed automatically; eBooks are also ineligible for auto-renewal. This unique service is currently found only in some beta testing libraries in the U.S. and academic libraries in Europe and Asia. (The Outlook, Othello, 6/11/15)

New library trustee sought on Lopez
With the departure of Bill Evans from the Library Board of Trustees after many years of service, the library is in need of another trustee to step up to serve. Send a letter of interest to: librarian@lopezlibrary.org or send a printed letter to Lopez Library, PO Box 770, Lopez Island, WA 98261 or drop it by the library. The current vacated position’s term lasts until August 31, 2017 with reappointment a possibility. (Island’s Weekly Newspaper, Lopez Island, 6/16/15)
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Washington State Library Co-hosts Pacific Northwest Digital Collections Summit

July 7th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Uncategorized No Comments »

In March 2015, the Oregon and Washington State Libraries co-hosted a summit of approximately 50 library, archives, and museum professionals to explore avenues for increased collaborative digitization throughout the region. The one-day meeting, held at the Oregon State Library in Salem, Oregon, featured presentations by collaborative projects at local, state, regional, and national levels and allowed participants to discuss topics ranging from leadership and funding of collaborative projects to metadata standards and shared infrastructure for digital projects.

WSL staff representing our Washington Rural Heritage and State Library Digital Collections were on hand to share their projects and experiences.

Learn more about the meeting and read the entire final report here: http://www.oregon.gov/osl/LD/Pages/NWDigSummit.aspx

Below: Explore the digital collections of cultural heritage organizations throughout the region.

Washington library, archives, and museum professionals interested in providing feedback on the report, or participating in future discussions regarding collaborative digitization should contact Evan Robb, Digital Repository Librarian, Washington State Library: evan.robb@sos.wa.gov

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Zinesters! Now’s Your Chance to make Washington History Come Alive!

July 4th, 2015 Judy Pitchford Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

1st Annual Zine ContestBeginning today and running through August 31, 2015, the Washington State Library, Washington State Archives (both divisions of the Office of the Secretary of State) and Timberland Regional Library are sponsoring the 1st Annual Historical Zine Contest!

What is a Zine (which, by the way, rhymes with bean)? Zines are basically self-published magazines that give the creator’s point of view on the subject.

All three sponsors have a multitude of resources that can provide fantastic material to use in the creations of participants.

  • Washington State Library has many online resources that include books, maps, newspapers and photos. You can also find featured images from these digital collections on their Pinterest and Flickr pages. And don’t forget that you can visit the library to see some resources in person!
  • Washington State Archives has an extensive print collection, as well as many images at the Digital Archives.
  • And you can visit the Timberland Libraries to explore their NW Reference Collection, Zine Collection and Zine Resource Collection.

Workshops will be held in July to learn how to make a zine :

  • Olympia Timberland Library – Saturday, July 11th from 2-8 pm
  • Yelm Timberland Library – Saturday, July 25th from 1-4 pm

This contest is open to 4th graders through adults of all ages that are Washington residents.

For more information, visit our Zine Contest webpage or download the Zine Contest Flyer/Entry Form.

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We have a budget! 2015-2017

July 1st, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

From the desk of Rand Simmons, Washington State Librarian.

Kim Wyman addresses the library staffMonday, June 29 the Legislature approved a compromise 2015-2017 Operating Budget.  Governor Inslee signed it Tuesday, June 30, the final day of the fiscal year.  This action avoided a government shutdown on Wednesday, July 1. Secretary of State Kim Wyman wrote, “This means no shutdown, no unpaid furloughs and no service interruptions.  I’m happy for the citizens of Washington and for all of our amazing OSOS staff!”

The budget news for the State Library is FANTASTIC!  The Legislature approved HB 2195, the proposed $1 recording fee increase that funds the Heritage Account to support State Library operations.  Not only does the increase provide the money to backfill the projected $2.4 million shortfall in revenue, it also creates a much more permanent solution to the problem of facing continued shortfalls in future biennia – an ongoing, more stable funding source.

Wyman noted that the legislators seemed to like the Library 21 notion of expanding access to collections and information in new and tech-based ways.

The Legislature also provided $1.5 million to continue the Microsoft IT Academy, the online technology training provide through Washington libraries at no cost to the people of Washington.  Wyman observed “It is a real Library 21 success story in bringing digital literacy to more library-users through free online IT course work that can provide needed skills for job placement and advancement.”

State Librarian Rand Simmons stated, “We believe much of the Microsoft IT Academy funding can be included in the required ‘maintenance of effort’ needed to receive full federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding. This will help repair the damage done by reductions in state funding for the Library.”  LSTA dollars support programs and services the library offers to local community libraries.

Having made this her top legislative priority, Secretary Wyman was actively engaged in the budget process, met with legislators, and worked with House and Senate leaders during final budget negotiations to generate support for HB 2195. Deputy Secretary of State Greg Lane observed, “Without her personal involvement, our success simply would not have happened.”

Lane praised the efforts of State Library supporters which combined with Secretary Wyman’s strategy brought about success. The State Library begins the 2015-2017 biennium with funding level to that of the 2013-2015 appropriation. It’s a good thing.

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Clippings June 26, 2015

June 26th, 2015 Marilyn Lindholm Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, News, Updates No Comments »

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Library Clippings for the week of June 26, 2015

Library News

Reference library opens at Lightcatcher
A new reference collection of more than 500 titles focusing on art and regional history is now accessible to the community, thanks to a partnership between Whatcom Museum, Bellingham Public Library, and donors of library materials. The Joyce Morse Reference Library is open by appointment noon to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Museum’s Lightcatcher building at 250 Flora Street. Call 360-778-8938 for an appointment. (Bellingham Herald, Bellingham, 6/1/15)


New Camano library set to open this summer (The Herald, Everett, 6/7/15)
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