WA Secretary of State Blogs

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 Comments Off on Washington State Library Co-hosts Pacific Northwest Digital Collections Summit

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: [email protected]

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Steve’s last post…

June 15th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection, Uncategorized Comments Off on Steve’s last post…

Although this article was found at random in the January 23, 1914 issue of The Mason County Journal, the story actually concerns a man from Spokane, and one of the great unsolved missing persons cases in Washington State history. The subject in question had a perfect name for a Pacific Northwest character– F. Lewis Clark:


Wealthy Spokane Man DisappearsSanta Barbara, Cal.–F. Lewis Clark, one of the wealthiest residents of Spokane, Wash., heavily interested in mines, flour mills, real estate and other enterprises, has been missing ever since he attended his wife to the train last week. His disappearance is proving a deep mystery.

 Friends and the police believe Mr. Clark either was murdered or committed suicide. In support of one of these presumptions, Mr. Clark’s hat was found on the ocean beach, a mile north of the Santa Barbara wharf.

 Mr. Clark, who had been in this vicinity for the past three months, coming from Spokane for the benefit of his health, was staying at a hotel.

 It is said that Mrs. Clark does not believe her husband is dead and will institute a vigorous search for him on the theory that he merely wandered away. When Mrs. Clark left Santa Barbara Friday night for Spokane she left her husband in his usual good spirits. Immediately thereafter he dismissed his chauffeur at the depot and he has not been seen since.

 It was learned that the domestic life of the Clarks has not been entirely tranquil. Mr. Clark has been a sufferer for many years from a physical ailment.

Maine-native Francis Lewis Clark was 52 years old at the time he vanished. Starting in the 1880s he had established himself as one of the industrial giants of Spokane. He owned the largest flour mill in the Northwest. He was an executive with a railroad company. He was a yachtsman who was one of the founders of the America Cup race. He was a millionaire with two mansions: his main home in Spokane (by architect Kirtland Cutter) and his “summer home” on Hayden Lake, Idaho (called “Honeysuckle Lodge“), the latter of which was considered the most expensive home in Idaho when it was built in 1910.

At the time Clark vanished he left behind a wife, Winifred, and a son, Teddy, who was attending Harvard.

F. Lewis Clark’s disappearance has never been explained. Naturally many felt he had drowned himself, but Mrs. Clark initially suggested he had anonymously checked himself into a sanitarium. His valet told the press Mr. Clark was really in no physical shape to go anywhere unassisted. He was 135 pounds and believed to have been suffering from cancer.

The police dynamited the channel in hopes the blasts would dislodge his body, but to no effect. Some suggested that Clark faked his death.

The case grew murkier as police received a note from a purported group called the “Blackmailers” demanding $75,000 ransom for Clark. The kidnapping angle quickly fizzled. And ultimately the disappearance of F. Lewis Clark became one of the great missing persons mysteries in Pacific Northwest history.

Mrs. Clark had to sell off the estate by 1922 and died in 1940 under much more financially modest conditions. Both of the Clark mansions survive today as relics of an era of opulence. Just when I wondered why no one has dramatized this unsolved case, I discovered Northwest author Jamie Ford has used this mystery as a springboard for his latest story, Wish You Were Here at the Bottom of a Well.

F. Lewis Clark’s name can be found in our online Pacific Northwest card file!

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Stafford Creek’s Favorite Author, Garth Stein, Visits Yet Again!

May 22nd, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Uncategorized Comments Off on Stafford Creek’s Favorite Author, Garth Stein, Visits Yet Again!

From the desk of Karen S. Diehm, Secretary Senior, Stafford Creek Corrections Center

Write fat, edit lean – Garth Stein


SCCC’s Library crew with Garth Stein (L-R): Clerks Harold E., Jacob M., and Nate H., stand with Stein, Program Manager Laura Sherbo, and SCCC Librarian Jeannie Remillard stand to the right.

On Friday, May 8th, 2015 Garth Stein made his 3rd visit to Stafford Creek Corrections Center (SCCC) . We think he’s beginning to like it here!

We originally invited Garth to SCCC due to his novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, which is narrated by a dog. This beautiful book has over 4 million copies in print and was on the New York Times bestselling novel list for 3 years! Garth graciously accepted our invitation, met with the Freedom Tails handlers and dogs, and proceeded to discuss the book with program volunteers. With some cajoling from the handlers, Garth agreed to come back for a book read which involved the general population and was an overwhelming success.

Recently, when we contacted Garth, he was happy to visit SCCC for another book read. Not only that, but he donated all the books! This time, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets was introduced to the SCCC’s general population. The theme of this novel is based around a man who has found out, long after the fact, that he has a 14 year old son. There are many offenders who have been in, or are in, this situation, so it made for a great novel of choice. garth stein

While discussing the book, many other questions came to light – especially on the art of writing itself. Stein informed his audience that the first and foremost rule of writing is: “There is no rule”. Questions abounded from the offenders ranging from dialog tagging, point of view, the voice, and the process. One by one, Garth answered all questions – and of course more questions ensued. One point Stein stressed to the offenders was: “The easiest thing to do in the world is to not write. The hardest thing to do is write – and, it’s easy to find excuses not to write.”

Among the questions asked, many offenders wanted to know how to deal with editing your work. Garth explained that is was necessary to get people you trusted and who would give you honest feedback, but to keep in mind that “other people can tell you where you went wrong, but they can’t fix it. Only the writer can fix it.”

scccAs usual, Stein’s visit was an overwhelming success. Everyone at SCCC truly appreciated him taking the time to come share his talent and knowledge, and we look forward to him coming for another book read in the future!

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2015 Proposed Legislation Affecting Libraries 4/24/2015

April 28th, 2015 Jeff Martin Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized, Updates Comments Off on 2015 Proposed Legislation Affecting Libraries 4/24/2015

Courtesy of the Legislative Planning Committee, Washington Library Association Library Related Legislation. The Washington Library Association (WLA) tracks state legislative activity that will potentially affect Washington Libraries. Their tracker is posted weekly on this blog.

For information on the legislative process or becoming involved, see the WLA site referenced above.


Bill Title Sponsor Status Date HRG Date Latest Cmte Mtg Info Companion Bills
SHB 1105 Operating sup budget 2015 Hunter C 3 L 15 2/19/2015 2/9/2015 Feb 9 Executive action taken in the Senate  Committee on Ways & Means at 3:30 PM. SB 5076(SWays & Means)
ESHB 1106 Operating bdgt 2015, 2015-17 Hunter S Ways & Means 4/6/2015 3/31/2015 Mar 31 Executive action taken in the House  Committee on Appropriations at 1:30 PM. SB 5077(Ssubst for)
HB 1168 Retiree return-to-work/PERS Ormsby Del to Gov 4/20/2015 3/24/2015 Mar 24 Executive action taken in the Senate  Committee on Ways & Means at 3:30 PM. SB 5211(SRules X)
SHB 1919 Special elections, timing of Hunt, S. Del to Gov 4/22/2015 3/31/2015 Mar 31 Executive action taken in the Senate  Committee on Government Operations & Security at 10:00 AM.  
HB 2156 City and county fiscal T.O. Reykdal H Finance 2/19/2015 4/17/2015 Apr 17 Public hearing in the House  Committee on Finance at 8:00 AM.  
HB 2158 Spec purpose tx distrct T.O. Carlyle H Finance 2/19/2015      
SB 5076 Operating sup budget 2015 Hill S Ways & Means 1/13/2015     HB 1105(Hsubst for)
ESSB 5077 Operating bdgt 2015, 2015-17 Hill H Approps 4/8/2015 4/1/2015 Apr 1 Public hearing and executive action taken in the Senate  Committee on Ways & Means at 1:00 PM. HB 1106(Hsubst for)
SSB 5294 School library & tech progs McAuliffe C 27 L 15 4/17/2015 3/24/2015 Mar 24 Executive action taken in the House  Committee on Education at 1:30 PM. HB 1331(HRules X)
SSB 5348 Joint utilization contracts Miloscia Del to Gov 4/23/2015 3/19/2015 Mar 19 Executive action taken in the House  Committee on State Government at 1:30 PM. HB 1079(HRules X)
SB 5466 PEBB benefits eligibility Becker Del to Gov 4/20/2015 3/25/2015 Mar 25 Executive action taken in the House  Committee on Appropriations at 3:30 PM.  
SSB 5721 Expanded learning opp’s cncl Billig Del to Gov 4/24/2015 3/30/2015 Mar 30 Executive action taken in the House  Committee on Education at 10:00 AM.  
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Great news for Washington Digital Newspapers!

April 22nd, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized Comments Off on Great news for Washington Digital Newspapers!


The Washington State Library has been awarded a Veridian Newspaper Conversion Grant to process and present up to 10,000 newspaper images from our Historic Newspapers Collection.  In March we competed against other national and international academic, public and special libraries with digital collections for the opportunity to have the Veridian software company convert our metadata and cloud-host a full-text searchable collection for two years.

We will have new features to explore, such as advanced search techniques, improved search results, comment opportunities and personal search lists! By converting our keyword, subject-based collection of historic newspapers to METS/ALTO metadata standards, a standard approved by Library of Congress for newspapers in their Chronicling America program, this grant will enable us to capture the text from news articles in a form that allows researchers to use advanced search techniques such as proximity search, exact phrases and date ranges to find their favorite topics. It also encourages users to help improve search results with crowd-sourced correction features when poor Optical Character Recognition (OCR) resultKeepLightBurning_Stars occur from smudged or blurry originals.

 The Washington Digital Newspapers program has the largest collection of Washington state and territorial newspapers in the world, but we are still quite shy of having as extensive a digital collection as we have on microfilm. There are also plenty of community newspapers ready to be digitized across the state. This grant will help us compare the best online software features available for newspapers and we will use this experience to determine the future growth of our online newspapers collection for the residents and researchers of Washington.

Progress for Digital Newspapers!!


DL Consulting provides Veridian Software

Here are some examples of their work:

Newspaper collections from our NDNP partners

Library of Virginia

California Digital Newspaper Collection

Non-newspaper collections

Princeton University




From the desk of Shawn Schollmeyer- Washington Digital Newspapers Coordinator

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Washington Congressional Senators and Representatives sign off on legislation crucial to Washington.

April 8th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized Comments Off on Washington Congressional Senators and Representatives sign off on legislation crucial to Washington.

From the desk of Rand Simmons

Rand0714Two pieces of legislation important to the people of Washington are working their way through Congress. Optimum support requires members of both the House and the Senate and from both parties sign on to “Dear Appropriators” letters.

The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is administered by the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State. The Senate letter notes that “LSTA is the only federal program that helps public libraries meet community needs, provide enhanced services through technology, reach underserved populations, and retain librarians while recruiting new entrants to this important field. Robust federal support for the state formula program and competitive grant provided by LSTA is more essential now than ever.”

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) chair the Senate committee to obtain maximum allowable funding for the Act. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) signed the letter. State Librarian Rand Simmons had urged her to do so. Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA 2nd) signed the House letter. Currently the State Library receives about $3.3 million annually in LSTA funding and all types of libraries in Washington are eligible to receive funding and services.

Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) is a grant program under the Fund for the Improvement of education. The Senate letter states, “IAL provides competitive awards to school libraries and national not-for-profit organizations, including partnerships that reach families outside of local educational agencies, for providing books and childhood literacy activities to children and families in high need communities. The program also supports parental engagement and focuses on promoting student literacy from birth through high school.” Senators Blunt and Murray are also leading the quest for this funding.

Signers in the House include Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA 10th), Jim McDermott (D-WA 7th) and Adam Smith (D-WA 9th).

  • Learn more about how the Washington State Library administers the Library Services and Technology Act at the Library’s web site.
  • Information for this article came from the American Library Association’s Advocacy Works: Broad number of legislators back library funding. Links to Senate and House letters are provided.
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Washington State Library promotes technology

March 20th, 2015 Rand Simmons Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized Comments Off on Washington State Library promotes technology

Picture4From the desk of Rand Simmons

The good ol’ card catalog. How we miss it?

The card catalog was a dominant technology for several centuries harkening back to the French Revolution when after raiding religious houses of their books and manuscripts the revolutionaries established a system of public libraries and the French Cataloging Code of 1791. The bibliographic information for each book was recorded on the blank back of playing cards, hence the card in card catalog.

In the 1960s with the development of machine readable automated cataloging – the MARC record – and the rise of OCLC, a bibliographic utility that stores library information electronically, libraries abandoned their card catalogs seduced by computer catalogs otherwise known as online public access catalogs.

Along came Bill and Melinda Gates and Bill Gates, Sr. with their vision of placing PC’s in every public library in the United States. Thus the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Libraries program was born around 1997.

At that time only about 25% of public libraries offered access for the public to the Internet.

The nation’s state libraries partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and by 2004 the Foundation had invested $240 million in placing computers in libraries and had connected 99 percent of U.S. public libraries to the Internet.

However, as wonderful and as crucial as the U.S. Libraries Program was, it was just the beginning of libraries adapting new technologies.

Over a period of time, roughly 1998 to 2014, the Washington State Library through its administration of federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds invested $4.2 million in technology-related grants to libraries.

These grants have helped bring connectivity to libraries; have provided laptop and tablet training labs; and we helped libraries dip their toes into the pool of digital imaging.

Later we taught local libraries how to digitize their historical treasures, how to make the images find-able through metadata, and hosted these digital collections for libraries who retained the originals.

In the early 2000s the State Library helped create a “virtual reference network.” The concept was to create a network of participating libraries across the state that would, by collaborating with and linking to a national network, share responsibility for providing customers with information 24/7/365 – that is, to anyone, anywhere they might be, and at any time. Customers are served even when the library is not open. That program lives on as Ask-WA.

Perhaps the most ambitious project we have undertaken was joining a loose-knit collaborative of anchor institutions (schools, hospitals and libraries), non-profits, state and local government agencies and others to apply for Broadband Technology Opportunity Program grants. Two successful applications, one in summer 2009 and the other in Spring 2010 netted $138 million awarded to the Northwest Open Access Network to bring higher bandwidth connectivity to rural Washington communities. When in the second round application the federal government added a matching fund requirement to the application our friends the Gates Foundation stepped up and provided the match for several state libraries including Washington.

We have also provided professional development grants to individuals to take technology courses and have provided technology-related training.

Lately we have engaged in the provision of free online technology training by partnering with Microsoft. With funding from the Washington legislature and large discounts from Microsoft the Washington State Library is able to offer the Microsoft IT Academy free to any resident of Washington through public, two-year, and tribal libraries. Schools also offer the Academy and it is administered by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

We are taking the Academy to a deeper level by pairing with Workforce Development and supporting training among the tribes using the Academy to address digital literacy needs on the reservations.

So while the card catalog remains an object of fond memories, one which many of us lovingly display in our homes, if we were lucky enough to snag one, I doubt any of us would go back.

Technology will change libraries. The Washington State Library, as a change agent, is committed to lead the charge.

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Got CDs?

February 17th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Uncategorized Comments Off on Got CDs?

photo by Eelke de Blouw https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

photo by Eelke de Blouw https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

CDs… do people still use CDs or is all music “consumed” digitally these days?  Across the state, people are cleaning out their CD collections and think that these “dinosaurs” are no longer viable.  But wait… we have an audience in Washington who will gratefully, happily and enthusiastically take those CDs off your hands.  One of the more popular items in WSL’s Institutional libraries, the library branches in our prisons and state hospitals, are the CDs.  The inmates and patients do not have access to streaming music or digital players so CDs are an excellent alternative.  We are always on the lookout for donations of CDs so if you or anyone you know are cleaning out their music please keep the State Library in mind.

Donations may be sent to:

Washington State Library (attention Laura Sherbo)

6880 Capitol Blvd SE

Tumwater, WA 98504

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Clippings – February 13, 2015

February 11th, 2015 Staci Phillips Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, News, Uncategorized, Updates Comments Off on Clippings – February 13, 2015

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Library Clippings for the week of February 13, 2015

Library News

At the Upper Skagit Library
This article provides information to the community about Upper Skagit Library activities. The library thanks the community for contributing to the Winter Food and Book Drive. One-on-One tutoring is being offered on the first and third Fridays of each month. The tutoring focuses on basic computer skills, resumes, cover letters, and job applications. Call the library (360-853-7939) to schedule an appointment. The library has new hours: Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Upper Skagit Library Board meetings have been rescheduled to the second Thursday of each month in 2015. (Concrete Herald, Concrete, 1/–/15)
Read the rest of this entry »

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WLA Library Legislative Day -January 30, 2015

February 2nd, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized Comments Off on WLA Library Legislative Day -January 30, 2015

Library staff, trustee and friends from all points in Washington State gathered in Olympia for the Washington Library Association’s Library Legislative Day. Library Legislative Day

Following a morning briefing these library advocates swarmed the Capitol campus to make their legislators aware of issues that affect Washington libraries.

Among the issues discussed was the Washington State Library’s budget crisis. Many legislators are probably unaware that the State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State is in crisis.

State Librarian Rand Simmons said, “The Washington State Library is facing a $2.4 million shortfall in its budget. The legislature must provide a backfill during this session or the State Library will lose its ability to serve the people of Washington beginning July 1, 2015. Washington libraries depend on federal funding to serve their local communities. Currently $1.8 million in state dollars results in $3.3 million federal dollars. These funds help bring reading to the blind and others who cannot read traditional print material, provide library service to those in institutions and enhance Washington communities statewide. Without state funding for libraries we will lose federal dollars.

kim color small

Secretary of State Kim Wyman spoke to the group about the partnership of the State Library with the libraries of Washington State.  She stressed that the State library touches everyone in the room through opportunities provided by LSTA funds. She explained that she is working diligently to address the situation, visiting legislators and newspaper editorial boards, but she also urged the crowd to speak to their legislator about the State Library and how it impacts their community in a very tangible way.  “They are used to hearing from us, they need to hear it from you, their constituents.” Just how does the State Library serve the people of Washington?  We talked to several of the librarians at the gathering and got a wide range of answers, answers that reflect the wide range of services that are offered by the State Library.  Here are just a few of the comments we “collected”

Tony Wilson – Retired librarian from Highline Community College.

The State Library are national leaders in library database licensing, as well as leaders in reference.  When I needed a map of where forest fires were happening I couldn’t find one anywhere (and I’m a librarian!)  Then I turned to the State Library.  I had the map in minutes.

 Chris Skaugset – Director of the Long view Public Library.

The State Library allows us to do things we simply couldn’t do on our own.Without the State Library we wouldn’t be able to offer the wide variety of digital resources, databases and ebooks that we have available to our patrons.  We also recently received a grant from the State Library that allows us to offer technology training to our community. 

 Mary Thornton – Director of the Hoquiam branch of the Timberland Regional Library.

The digital resources and archives provided by the State Library are the first place we send our Genealogy patrons.  The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society in particular go right to the State Library’s website.

 Devin McCosh – Library Associate from the Olympia Timberland Regional Library

Devin really appreciates the professional development opportunities made available by the State Library.  He mentioned attending online “First Tuesdays” webinars and the fact that the State Library provides Professional Development Grants  to Timberland staff allowing them to keep on top of the profession.

 Donna Schuman – Computer Services Department at Timberland Regional Library

Donna mentioned the Database Licensing that the State Library coordinates, allowing group pricing so that all Washington state libraries are able to provide access at a reasonable cost to the library.  She says the State Library makes a tremendous difference both  in her work and for her professionally. 

How does the State Library impact you or help you get your work done?  How do the services offered by the State Library impact your community?  We’d love to hear your story.

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