WA Secretary of State Blogs

Veterans in Washington – Creating a Stronger Library Connection

From the desk of Jeff Martin, Manager, Library Development, Washington State Library

The United States flag with the setting sun for backlight.I didn’t realize how many veterans, active duty and reserve personnel, and their family members exist in Washington State. The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) reports the figure as roughly 2.6 million persons. That means one in every three of us in Washington is a veteran, on active duty, in the reserve, or a family member of a veteran, active duty and reserve military member. Veterans within Washington number more than 593,000 with another 63,000 persons who are active duty or reserve members.

Certainly I think about the active duty members who serve on the military bases around Washington but the population is more geographically dispersed than we may first think. The Washington State County Veteran Population Map show the distribution by county in 2016. Every county in our state has veterans, with most counties claiming numbers in the thousands. The smaller, more rural counties are home to hundreds of veterans in incorporated and unincorporated areas.  And six counties have populations of more than 30,000 veterans, with King County having the largest resident population of veterans at more than 115,000.

Do you know how many veterans visit the library in your community? My understanding is that many veterans and their families visit libraries throughout Washington State. Libraries are a trusted resource.

If a question arose would you know where to refer the person for veterans’ services? Did you know that local veteran service organizations exist in every county? Use this map to find those answers. Click in the county in which you are located to see a list of services and organizations which support veterans.

Libraries exist in most communities throughout Washington State. These libraries often have the fastest internet connection in a small town, perhaps the only reliable connection in a rural community.  Have you thought about how your community library can better serve as a connector between the veteran and the services that are available to them?  Living Well in Washington Resource Guide is a Washington State Library guide for helping people find the information they need to live a more rewarding life. It also has a section with resources for veterans and their families.


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