WA Secretary of State Blogs

160 Years of Service to the People of Washington

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, WSL 160 | Comments Off on 160 Years of Service to the People of Washington


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!

Kim Wyman

Kim Wyman visits Airway Heights Corrections Center Library

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | Comments Off on Kim Wyman visits Airway Heights Corrections Center Library

Ken Raskey, Joyce Hanna, and Kim Wyman in the AHCC Library

Ken Raske, Joyce Hanna, and Kim Wyman in the AHCC Library

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. 

Ken Raskey and Kim Wyman in front of AHCC

Ken Raske and Kim Wyman in front of AHCC


March Issue of Western State Hospital Library Newsletter Salutes Kim Wyman

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services, Uncategorized | Comments Off on March Issue of Western State Hospital Library Newsletter Salutes Kim Wyman

Kim WymanAmerican Libraries celebrate Women’s History Month!

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.

Dear Dewey-WSH Newsletter March 2013

Comcast Newsmakers: Sam Reed

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on Comcast Newsmakers: Sam Reed

Comcast Newsmakers talks with Sam Reed about the various functions of his office. It’s a good summary of the (rather odd) variety of functions the Office of the Secretary of State performs: elections, corporations, charities, archives, legacy project, the state library.

The Washington State Library gets excellent treatment, both time-wise and praise-wise. If you’re impatient, you can skip ahead – we’re covered from 1:01 – 2:16.