WA Secretary of State Blogs

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.”


Linking the Past with the Present

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections | No Comments »

Ever since the advent of Web 2.0 people are finding creative ways to harness the power of the web to learn about and share their passions.  Resources are shared and discovered; connections are made between people.  Here at the Washington State Library we have a mission to collect, preserve and make accessible materials about the history and culture of Washington State.  This task is accomplished in a variety of ways, from scanning newspapers, or entire books, to helping communities scan, organize and digitize their local historic collections.  While the library has accomplished this mission by providing access to its digital collections this really is only the first step.  When it gets interesting is when people start interacting with the collections.

Much to our delight, people are finding our collections and using them to enrich their lives.  I wanted to share a few of the stories and comments which have resulted from the resources we’ve shared.  A picture from the Garfield County Heritage collection titled “Denison children and goat cart, 1929” elicited this comment Denison_children_and_goat_cart_1929“My Great Aunt Mary, Great Uncle Roger, and my Lovely Grandmother Dorothy Denison Ruchert. I cherish this photo and hope to bring back the goat carts for use today!”

Or we received this comment on a photo of Nooksack Valley“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.”   	Logging on Gardene's homestead on property

Then there was the time that the Public Services desk received a call from someone who had heard that the Washington State Library had digitized her Great-Great-Great Grandfather’s journal.  When asked who that person might be, they said, Daniel Bigelow.  We were excited to let her know that the State Library Digital and Historical Collections team had indeed made the journal, along with other mementos kept in the Manuscripts Collection, digitally available.  Thrilled, she explained that her family was unaware that the material was available and was eager to pass the word along to her kin.  Needless to say, our Public Services team was delighted to help make these connections.

Finally, the other day on our Facebook page there was a wonderful piece of serendipity.  Just for fun we posted pictures of a small library in Eastern Washington with a challenge to “Name that Library”.  Someone who saw the post commented that her great grandparents had lived in that community and she was interested in genealogy.  A librarian from that library, OK I’ll tell you, The Denny Ashby Library in Pomeroy, saw the post, and knew of a book that had been scanned and made available in Open Library.  She went to the book and found an entry about the person’s great-grandparents and shared the link in the comments.  Connection made, information shared.  How cool is that? Keep reading, keep watching, you never know when something that links you to the past will turn up on your 21st Century device.

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

Announcing North Olympic Heritage, a new digital collection!

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For the Public | No Comments »


The Washington Rural Heritage initiative is pleased to announce a new digital collection: North Olympic Heritage.

A project of the Port Angeles Main Library of the North Olympic Library System, this collection includes hundreds of photographs of pioneers, Native Americans, trains, ships, logging scenes, and views of early towns and sites in Clallam and Jefferson counties digitized from the expansive Bert Kellogg Photograph Collection.

In 1970, local resident Bert Kellogg donated his collection of over 5,000 photos and negatives depicting life on the Olympic Peninsula during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the North Olympic Library System. Kellogg amassed the collection by borrowing and copying images from families and individuals, and by combing through rummage sales for prints and negatives during a 30 year period. Until now, access to this great collection has largely been limited to those who are able to visit the Port Angeles Library in person.



Working on a Washington Rural Heritage grant and leveraging a fairly robust pre-existing Access database, local project manager Rebecca Nugent and her staff (thanks, Tim!) at the Port Angeles Library have managed to digitize approximately 25 percent of the Bert Kellogg Collection in a single yeara huge feat resulting in 1158 digital items!



Highlights from the digital collection include:

Following this initial project, the Port Angeles Main Library has recently been awarded another Washington Rural Heritage grant for the 2013-2014 year to continue digitizing images from the Bert Kellogg Collection. Look for more great images as they add to this rich digital collection over the winter and spring.

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.

New Digital Collection: Lincoln County Heritage

Friday, March 15th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, Technology and Resources | No Comments »

We are proud to announce Lincoln County Heritage – a small, yet very cool new digital collection from Washington Rural Heritage — as well as a brand new website for the Davenport Public Library!


Davenport Public Library

The Davenport Library’s new web presence, built on a Drupal content management platform by our own Evelyn Lindberg, was developed as part of the Washington ReadyWeb Project (WaRP). Davenport joins the Reardan Memorial Library, the Ritzville Public Library, and the Denny Ashby Library in Pomeroy who all have a new and powerful, yet easy to use website from the WaRP initiative.

Irrigation ditch at Peach

Irrigation ditch at Peach




Lincoln County Heritage, a collaboration between the Lincoln County Historical Museum (LCHM) and the Davenport Public Library, is our latest digital collection which came together through the help of Davenport librarian Katy Pike and LCHM staffer Tannis Jeschke, with imaging assistance from Washington Rural Heritage staff.

Highlights from the collection include:

  • Late 19th century images of the U.S. Army at Fort Spokane.
  • Early 20th century images of the community of Peach, Washingtonalong the lower Spokane River — one of many towns in northern Lincoln County submerged by the rising waters of Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, following the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam in the early 1940s.
Foot bridge over the Spokane River narrows

Foot bridge over the Spokane River narrows

For more information about Washington Rural Heritage, contact Evan Robb, Project Manager: (360)704-5228, evan.robb@sos.wa.gov; or Ross Fuqua, Digital Projects Librarian: (360)570-5587, ross.fuqua@sos.wa.gov.

For more information about Washington WebReady Project (WaRP), please contact Evelyn Lindberg, Project Manager: (360)704-5228, evelyn.lindberg@sos.wa.gov.

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:


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.



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!

December 2012 WSL Training News

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 Posted in For Libraries, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | No Comments »

Discover free and inexpensive trainings available online and around the state; compiled by Jennifer Fenton, CE/Training Coordinator, Washington State Library

Featured Free Trainings:

Registration information for the below trainings and webinars is available at: http://www.sos.wa.gov/library/libraries/training/trainingCalendar.aspx


 Washington State Library is pleased to offer the following FREE online training in December:

 First Tuesdays: Exploring Washington Rural Heritage Digital Collections

December 4, 9:00-10:00 a.m. PT

Join us as Washington State Library’s Evan Robb and Ross Fuqua provide an introduction to searching, browsing, and exploring Washington Rural Heritage, a digital repository for Washington’s public libraries. The presentation will demonstrate advanced search functionality, website navigation, and integration of social media and collection visualization components. Presented by Evan Robb and Ross Fuqua, Washington State Library.

For these and many more free and low-cost trainings, visit the Washington State Library Training calendar which is constantly being updated, so check back frequently.


WebJunction Washington Courses (must be logged into WJ WA to view courses):

WebJunction has launched the new site; here is some information to help you understand the new WebJunction Washington. There are now two sites, the portal page which does not require a log-in and the course catalog which requires affiliation with Washington to access free courses. Courses are unlimited.

New portal website: http://www.webjunction.org/partners/washington.html

*Please note that the content has not yet been added, so it is a skeleton website at this time.

New Learning Management System for courses:

User ID: USERID; Password: WebJunction


Early registration for January WebJunction webinars is now open:

The Impact of an Ice Cream Sundae

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 ♦ 11 am Pacific 60 min

Early Registration: http://www.webjunction.org/events/webjunction/The_Impact_of_an_Ice_Cream_Sundae.html

What does an ice cream sundae have to do with library partnerships? Let’s pretend that your community organizations (school, academic, public and special libraries, and other local organizations) are your favorite kind of ice cream. Now let’s ladle your favorite toppings over the ice cream to represent  the organizations’ resources, programs, personnel and funding.  How can the ice cream “mix” with the toppings to be the most luscious dessert possible for the most people?  When community organizations collaborate to share their resources with one another, they make the biggest possible impact on the most lives. Learn easy, understandable and powerful strategies that will give you renewed energy to create bold and imaginative collaborations among all types of community organizations.

Presented by: Kathy Jacobs, Director, Yankton (SD) Community Library

Creating a Culture of Innovation in your Library and Community

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 ♦ 10 am Pacific 60 min

Early Registration:  http://www.webjunction.org/events/webjunction/Creating_a_Culture_of_Innovation.html

We hear about libraries that are leaders in innovation, implementing ideas that keep the library growing and vital. Perhaps you have watched from the sidelines and wished you could kickstart some innovation at your library, but you’re not sure where to start. Come to this webinar for an active and lively discussion on how to find innovative ideas, how to connect with the people to help make them happen, and how to get buy-in and support for your ideas. There is a lot to be learned from other libraries’ examples and experiences.

Presented by: Heather Braum, Digital & Technical Services Librarian at the Northeast Kansas Library System, blogger at www.heatherbraum.info, and 2010 Kansas Library Association’s New Professional of the Year.


 For many more free and low-cost trainings, visit the Washington State Library Training calendar which is constantly being updated, so check back frequently.

 For more information on these and many more CE events, continue reading….


 Training Opportunities in December 2012

For full information, please click on the link or visit http://www.sos.wa.gov/library/libraries/training/trainingCalendar.aspx

*Please note that all times are listed in PT on this list, some webinar registrations will reflect other time zones

12/3/2012: Makerspaces: A New Wave of Library Service
12/3/2012: Open Mic Night with Dr. Joyce Valenza!
12/4/2012: First Tuesdays
12/4/2012: Tech-Savvy Staff: Better Service for Library Users
12/4/2012: Create a Story and Tell it Too: Engaging Supporters with Online Video
12/4/2012: Reading is a Superpower! Comic Books, Graphic Novels, & Literacy
12/5/2012: Applying the 70:20:10 Enterprise Learning Model
12/5/2012: Branding yourself and your library career on LinkedIn
12/5/2012: It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore: Adult Summer Reading Programs
12/6/2012: How to Create Your Own Library (or Personal!) Knowledge Base.
12/6/2012: Assessing the Cloud for Nonprofits and Libraries
12/6/2012: Outreach Programs in Rural Communities: Simple Steps for Surprising Results
12/6/2012: Lerner Publishing Group Spring 2013 Librarian Preview Webinar
12/7/2012: Tech Tools With Tine: 1 Hour of Evernote
12/7/2012: Accessibility Handbook: Making 508-Compliant Websites
12/10/2012: Bozarthzone! Nuts and Bolts of Social Media
12/11/2012: Better Together: Tech Trainers Sharing Expertise
12/11/2012: Creating a Comprehensive and Engaging Volunteer Training Program
12/11/2012: Mobile Accessibility – The Status of Accessibility in Mobile Devices
12/12/2012: What Would Walt Do?: Quality Customer Service for Libraries
12/12/2012: Polite Debate Society
12/12/2012: Basic Graphic Design for Library Staff: Quick and Easy Solutions
12/12/2012: Perfect Phrases for Fundraising
12/13/2012: Making the Choice: Mobile Solutions for Your Library

 **Please note that times and topics are subject to change and WSL is not responsible for non-WSL events. Please verify time and topic when registering. Also, new webinars are added to the training calendar throughout the month as time allows, so please check back. This is only a partial list of free CE Events available online.


 Archived presentations:

Don’t have time to catch these courses live? Many are available later as an archived presentation. To view archives, visit the following sites:


Common Knowledge

School Library Journal


Tech Soup

Library Journal

SirsiDynix Institute


NCompass Live

Texas State Library

American Management Association

Carterette Series Webinars Archive: Georgia Library Association


* WSL provides information about outside training events for your convenience only; please contact the event sponsor for the most up-to-date information and all questions about the event.

Goat carts! WRH stumbles across a photographic genre

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections | 6 Comments »

Sometimes a seemingly insignificant coincidence can turn into a meaningful connection… or at least send you down a rabbit hole of late-night Googling.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting the Davenport, Washington public library for a couple days with Washington Rural Heritage (WRH) Project Manager Evan Robb. We were there helping Davenport librarian Katy Pike develop a small digital collection through a partnership with the Lincoln County Historical Museum.

After two productive days scanning photographs and documents we packed up our gear and were getting ready to leave when Tannis Jeschke of the Lincoln County Museum pulled out one last photo. The image, from the 1910s or 1920s, showed two children posed in a cart being pulled by… a goat. We all laughed at the humorous image, and I lamented the fact that we’d already loaded our scanner and laptops into the car.

Italian-American girl, Denver, 1926, from Denver Public Library Digital Collections

Katy Pike took another look at the goat cart photo and said, “Hmm… at home, I have a very similar photo of my grandmother sitting in a goat cart just like this one.” I asked where the photo of her grandmother was taken and she believed it was somewhere in the greater Spokane area. We all agreed this must have been from the same photographer and most likely the same goat and cart. We headed home and forgot about goat carts….. until….

A week later we were helping Susan Johns and Lissa Duvall of Whatcom County Library System finalize their brand new WRH collection, Nooksack Valley Heritage, when we noticed this goat cart image (below), taken in Bellingham in 1928.

Three goat carts within a single week seemed too good to be true… So I starting looking online for more.

Two children in a buggy or cart behind a harnessed goat, Bellingham, WA, 1928. Nooksack Valley Heritage, WRH.

As it turns out, the goat cart was a common device for traveling photographers to use for soliciting business to create portrait photography and photo postcards, from the late 19th century through the 1920s.

This kind of image was at one time so prevalent, in fact, the Library of Congress has included Goat carts as a controlled term in their Thesaurus of Graphic Materials – the same controlled vocabulary we use to provide subject access to materials within Washington Rural Heritage Collections. Our cursory research has turned up goat cart images from all across the United States, from New England to the Deep South, and throughout the Midwest and Western States.

This fun discovery has also moved us to try out the social bookmarking tool Pinterest at WSL to “collect” images of goat carts from other digital collections and sources around the Web. Check it out and follow our ‘Goat Carts’ Pinterest board.

Goat carts on Pinterest, from Washington State Library


Our Internet friends at HistoryPin have also jumped on the goat cart, er, bandwagon this week, too. They’ve started a collection of geo-referenced goat cart images featuring our Nooksack Valley image, as well as one made as far away as Brisbane, Australia! If you have not yet played around with HistoryPin, we encourage you to check out this amazing, crowd-sourced resource.Historypin Collection - Goat Carts!