Volume 13, July 20, 2017 for the WSL Updates mailing list
From the desk of Rand Simmons, Washington State Librarian.
Monday, 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.
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.
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.
Monday, June 9th, 2014 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library | Comments Off on Washington State Library Reduces Service Hours
From the desk of Rand Simmons Washington State Librarian
Based on an OSOS Press Release, 6/9/2014.
In-person service hours at the main Washington State Library in Tumwater will be reduced by four hours a day, effective June 16, as the service-and-research institution grapples with continuing significant budget challenges.
The Library at 6880 Capitol Blvd. in Tumwater traditionally has been open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. But like other states facing budget difficulties, the State Library faces an immediate shortfall that must be addressed through layoffs and fewer direct service hours.
The dedicated fund that finances Library operations now projects a potential shortfall of more than $1 million, due primarily to an unexpected slump in the number of recording fees collected by county auditors. This is on top of a $664,000 budget cut that was required at the beginning of the biennium, following a decade budget and staff reductions.
Beginning June 16, the central Library will be open daily from noon to 5 p.m. for walk-in patrons. Chat and email help will still be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
“The State Library staff have become more efficient in their operations over the past 10 years, providing the same general level of services while reducing employee count by 42 percent. Secretary of State Kim Wyman, whose office hosts the Library said, “We have reached the point where we must reduce our in-person hours at the central library, at least temporarily, because of additional staff cuts.”
The shorter hours in Tumwater do not affect the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library in Seattle or the institutional libraries at state hospitals and corrections centers. Grants to local libraries, a central role of the Washington State Library, will be maintained, and the State Library-Microsoft IT Academy will not be affected.
“The decision to reduce service hours is something that pains us very much – librarians are absolutely passionate about serving patrons directly, either in person or online or over the phone,” Wyman said. “That service ethic will not diminish one bit, but the hours we’re open will be fewer, sadly.”
Instead of 45 hours of in-person service each week, it will be 25 hours.
Wyman said the action reflects continuing challenges of sustaining the Library, which is the oldest cultural institution in Washington, dating to 1853, when the first territorial governor, Isaac Stevens, and Congress created it with books shipped around the Horn. The Library was assigned to the Secretary of State by the Legislature about a decade ago, and was formerly a separate agency.
“The State Library has been a core service of government for 160 years, but for some years now, it has been a struggle to survive. In the past decade, state support has dropped by 42 percent and staff levels have shrunk from 158 to 63 today.”
Wyman acknowledged that recent library usage around the country is turning to online access, rather than solely relying on a brick-and-mortar library building. The State Library is committed to service excellence to all customers, whether online or in-person, and is working to make more of its collections available online, she said.
“We are busy transforming the State Library information services, meeting people where they live,” Wyman said. “As the old saying goes, crisis meets opportunity. We intend to be the model Library of the 21st Century.”
State Librarian Rand Simmons is at 360-570-5585.
From the desk of Kim Wyman, Secretary of State.
From its beginnings as the Washington Territorial Library in 1853, the Washington State Library has played a major role preserving and providing public access to books, maps, collections, documents and other vital information about Washington’s history and government.
For the past 160 years, the State Library has lived up to its mission and purpose, which is to “collect, preserve and make accessible to Washingtonians materials on the government, history, culture, and natural resources of the state.” In addition, the State Library has led the way in coordinating services and helping secure federal or private funding to benefit other libraries throughout Washington. Literally, the benefits of your Washington State Library are felt throughout the state, and on the Internet!
Back in the 1850s, Congress understood the importance of having a library for the Washington Territory. In fact, when Congress in 1853 passed the Organic Act, creating the Washington Territory, it included a section specifically creating a territorial library:
SEC. 17. And be it further enacted, That the sum of five thousand dollars be, and the same is hereby, appropriated out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to be expended, by and under the direction of the Governor of Washington, in the purchase of a library, to be kept at the seat of government for the use of the Governor, legislative assembly, Judges of the Supreme Court, secretary, marshal, and Attorney of said Territory, and such other persons, and under such regulations, as shall be prescribed by law.
Congress had the wisdom to provide ample funding for the new library. And Isaac Stevens, Washington’s first Territorial Governor, used that money well, buying books, maps, globes and other items. The $5,000 appropriation back then would amount to more than $135,000 today! That appropriation was a key component in making the Territorial Library a worthy and valuable institution to serve Washingtonians for generations to come.
After Stevens made the initial purchases, he had the 1,850 books placed on the Invincible that left New York and sailed around the tip of South America before stopping in San Francisco. When the Tarquina, the vessel carrying the books and other items from California, finally reached Olympia, it meant more than the arrival of some books. It marked the arrival of Washington’s oldest cultural institution, one that still plays an important role today.
As Washington’s Secretary of State, I’m proud that our State Library is a central part of our office. I applaud State Librarian Rand Simmons and all of the State Library staff and volunteers for their tremendous work on behalf of the people of Washington.
Congratulations to the Washington State Library on this special anniversary. Here’s to many more years of service!
On Friday, May 31st the Airway Heights Corrections Center Branch of the Washington State Library had two special visitors: Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Assistant Secretary of State Ken Raske. The visit lasted around an hour and a half. AHCC Associate Superintendent Ron Haynes was also in attendance. On the way into the library, they got to see the inmates working with the dogs and Ron Haynes explained the program to them. The visit was very comfortable. Both Kim Wyman and Ken Raske were very interested in the library and what we are doing here. They asked lots of questions and toured the library. They were interested in our Re-entry Resources and our Library Reads Program. Both asked questions about our collection. I showed them the workroom, which is full of gift materials and explained how we go about deciding which items to add and which items to offer to other branch libraries. Then I explained that what is left over we offer to a list of other places. They were both very concerned about our safety and security and Ron Haynes explained the security side of the institution. On the way out we stopped by the Law Library, which is run by DOC. They both showed an interest in what legal resources were available to the inmates. I introduced them to Rachael Shook who runs the Law Library here. Kim Wyman and Ken Raske are very personable people and I felt at ease with them. I was very impressed with both of them and I think Kim is going to make a fantastic Secretary of State and I am personally glad to have her in charge of the office.
From the desks of Rand Simmons, State Librarian, and Steve Willis, Manager for the Central Library.
We celebrate National Library Week by harkening back to our founding 160 years ago. The Washington Territorial Library, the predecessor to the Washington State Library, was born from the Organic Act of 1853 which established the Washington Territory. Section 17 states that “the sum of five thousand dollars … be expended by and under the direction of the governor of Washington, in the purchase of a library, to be kept at the seat of government for the use of the governor, legislative assembly, judges of the supreme court, secretary, marshal, attorney of the territory, and such other persons and under such regulations as shall be prescribed by law.” $5,000 was the same amount appropriated for the erection of suitable buildings at the seat of government (section 13.)
An inflation calculator indicates that $5,000 US dollars in 1853 would be the approximate equivalent of $147,058 US dollars in 2012. Never mind that the dollars are too short to build a government building or equip a library. What is important in the value the US Congress placed in the importance of a library in the Territory. The Washington State Territorial Library was the first public historical-cultural institution in the Washington Territory. And we are still here.
160 might seem like a humdrum number to celebrate, but in many ways the past dozen years have been the most challenging in the history of WSL. In observing this birthday we not only honor the efforts of our library staff predecessors but also recognize our success in continuing to provide quality service in spite of massive budget cuts.
We salute the new Secretary of State Kim Wyman—the second woman to hold that position in Washington State. Kim served as Thurston County Auditor for 12 years prior to her election.
Kim Wyman, who will be sworn in as Washington’s 15th Secretary of State, announced her choices for her executive team Friday December 7. In making her appointments, Wyman consulted with outgoing Secretary of State Sam Reed, senior managers and others both inside and outside of government. In her email, she described the team as “a mix of people from within and outside the office, with a wide variety of experience and perspectives.”
Rand Simmons was chosen as Washington State Librarian effective January 16, 2013 when Wyman takes office. Simmons has been Acting State Librarian since September 2010. Kim and her Executive Team visited the Washington State Library to make the announcement to library staff.
See this link for a full story detailing Ms. Wyman’s choices for her Executive Leadership Team and Division Directors.