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Author: Secretary of State's Office

Ask a Librarian: your friendly neighborhood state-government resource

Ask a Librarian: your friendly neighborhood state-government resource

How often have you heard someone tell you the information you are looking for is “on our website,” only to give up looking because you could not find it? More than likely quite often. Unfortunately, however, and despite the best of intentions, government agencies are not always immune to this issue. Over 190 agencies comprise Washington state government. Thousands of Washingtonians visit their websites every day, often for urgent reasons — whether to make an appointment, pay a fee, or…

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY 26th AMENDMENT: “Right to Vote at Age 18″ turns 50

HAPPY BIRTHDAY 26th AMENDMENT: “Right to Vote at Age 18″ turns 50

“Old enough to fight, old enough to vote.” “You fight & die but can’t vote at 18.” These were just a couple of the slogans from the movement to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, which ultimately led to the 26th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states: The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by…

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WASHINGTON REGIONAL BRAILLE CHALLENGE 2021: VIRTUALLY AMAZING!

WASHINGTON REGIONAL BRAILLE CHALLENGE 2021: VIRTUALLY AMAZING!

On Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26-27, Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) hosted the annual Washington Regional Braille Challenge. The Braille Challenge, developed by the Braille Institute, is an academic competition held in the United States and Canada every January through mid-March. Students in grades 1 through 12 who are blind or visually impaired are tested on fundamental braille skills such as spelling, reading comprehension, proofreading, speed and accuracy, and charts and graphs. This year’s Braille Challenge was a…

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HIDDEN COLLECTION GIVES INSIGHT INTO THE DEBATE BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE UTILITIES

HIDDEN COLLECTION GIVES INSIGHT INTO THE DEBATE BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE UTILITIES

From the 1930s through at least the 1950s, there was tension between “public power” advocates and supporters of privately owned power utilities. The tension is reflected in the fact that many counties and municipalities own and operate their own public utilities, while Spokane’s electrical power comes from a publicly traded corporation called Avista (formerly Washington Water Power [WWP]). In 2021 Eastern Regional Branch Archivist Lee Pierce uncovered a nearly forgotten collection that provides researchers with something of an insider’s view…

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BREAKING NEWS! MORE HISTORIC WASHINGTON NEWSPAPERS ONLINE

BREAKING NEWS! MORE HISTORIC WASHINGTON NEWSPAPERS ONLINE

2020 was an extraordinary year for many reasons, all of which have been immortalized in catchy headlines and sensational news stories. Future generations will marvel at these stories and wonder how we coped during these extraordinary times. Much like how we look back on years past and wonder about the issues and challenges our recent ancestors endured. Yet thanks to the Washington State Library’s Washington Digital Newspapers (WDN) program – funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)…

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WASHINGTON RURAL HERITAGE PRESENTS THE REVIEW CLUB OF ABERDEEN

WASHINGTON RURAL HERITAGE PRESENTS THE REVIEW CLUB OF ABERDEEN

The Review Club of Aberdeen is the oldest women’s cultural group still in existence in Washington. Founded on March 3, 1891, the Review Club meets twice a month to share and discuss “good books.” Topics have included everything from fiction to politics to spiritualism. The group’s longevity speaks to the ongoing desire for intellectual opportunities for women. This Washington Rural Heritage collection includes meeting minutes, beginning with the group’s charter meeting in 1891; annual programs from the 1920s to the…

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Perched Between the Stumps and Tides: Early Newspapers in Washington Territories, Part 3

Perched Between the Stumps and Tides: Early Newspapers in Washington Territories, Part 3

Thanks to past and ongoing digitization efforts at the Washington State Library, Washington Digital Newspapers hosts digital copies of some of the earliest newspapers published in Washington. Through their columns, early territorial editors provided a glimpse of some of the hardships faced by settlers in general, and by publishers in particular in the 1850s. This blog, one of a three part series, covers mail services in Washington territory and how they affected the news disseminated to early settlers. Newspapers in…

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WASHINGTON’S DIGITAL HERITAGE: AN AUDIO & VISUAL HISTORY

WASHINGTON’S DIGITAL HERITAGE: AN AUDIO & VISUAL HISTORY

The Washington State Library’s annual Washington Digital Heritage grant cycle has helped preserve a wealth of historical documents from organizations and private collections statewide. These grants support libraries and partner organizations in digitizing historically significant primary sources, special collections, and archives. In addition, the projects support the creation of digital exhibits, oral histories, open educational resources, and other community memory initiatives. Here are some highlights from the 2019-2020 grant cycle. Asotin County Library The Asotin County Library digitized a privately…

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WASHINGTON WOMEN PROJECT HIGHLIGHTED ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF NOTEWORTHY WASHINGTON WOMEN

WASHINGTON WOMEN PROJECT HIGHLIGHTED ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF NOTEWORTHY WASHINGTON WOMEN

Picture it: the year is 1985. A group of children excitedly swap trading cards in a Washington state schoolyard. “I have an extra Dunbar!” “I need a Russ!” Baseball cards? No, they’re Washington Women trading cards! In 1980, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction began work on the Washington Women project to highlight the accomplishments of noteworthy women in Washington. Deirdre O’Neill, an associate instructor at the University of Washington, interviewed several hundred candidates for the project with…

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WTBBL BOOK CLUB HOSTS INAUGURAL MEETING

WTBBL BOOK CLUB HOSTS INAUGURAL MEETING

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) hosted its first Book Club meeting Aug. 26. Due to COVID-19, we held the meeting virtually, and if the overwhelmingly positive response from participants is any indication, we will continue with this format. The inaugural meeting included patrons from across the state and featured Trial by Fury by local author J.A. Jance. (Trial by Fury is available to patrons in both audio and braille.) Jance is one of the top-circulating authors from…

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