WA Secretary of State Blogs

WSL Updates for January 19, 2017

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 Posted in For Libraries, Grants and Funding, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | Comments Off on WSL Updates for January 19, 2017

Volume 13, January 19, 2017 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:







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Spotlight on Staff: Kathryn Devine

Monday, September 8th, 2014 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Public Services | Comments Off on Spotlight on Staff: Kathryn Devine

Spotlight on Staff: Kathryn Devine

When you think of detectives you may think of the hardboiled Sam Spade or perhaps Sherlock Holmes with his deerstalker hat, but working behind the scenes at the Washington State Library is a detective extraordinaire — Kathryn Devine. KD-picKathryn is one of our Public Services Librarians and an expert at deep genealogical research. As her supervisor Crystal Lentz says, “Kathryn has solved many a genealogical mystery for us.” She has a BA in History from Marysville College in Tennessee, is a hair’s breadth away from a Master’s in Art History and of course a Masters in Library Science. In other words, Kathryn has had a lot of experience with research. When asked what she likes best about her job she answered that she loves to take on the deep research questions, something she can really sink her teeth into. She also mentioned the great team of people she works with at the State Library. She stressed how they all work so well together and willingly take on any task if they see that one of their co-workers is swamped.

Kathryn moved to Washington from Tennessee in 2003 working as a faculty librarian at Centralia Community College and as a reference librarian for Timberland Regional Library. She came to the State Library in 2006, hired as the Genealogy Librarian. If you’ve asked a Genealogy question in recent years you no doubt have experienced her excellent service.  Kathryn does outreach to Genealogy organizations in the state and will be presenting, along with the Washington State Archives, next week at the Eastside Genealogical Society in Bellevue.

Recently Kathryn’s job has morphed into helping field more of the Government and legal questions that our public services staff receive. She also helps to monitor the online chat service that the State library offers. It is not common knowledge but the Washington State Library’s “Ask A Librarian” service is the contact for the AccessWA Help Center, so we handle a lot of government research questions.

A personal project that Kathryn has taken on is working to make our Federal Collection more accessible to the public. She keeps her eyes open for short, non-copywrited federal material, which she then scans and makes available online through our catalog.

While she spends her days in quiet research her nights are anything but. She is married with an almost five year old daughter (and anyone with kids knows how busy THAT keeps you!) and… she skates in the Roller Derby!

Want to hear more about her awesomeness? Here are some quotes from her fans:

“I asked a question on Thursday night, 14-August via email, and received an answer Friday morning, 15-August @10am, @my msn.com inbox! Answer was exactly what I asked for – Thanks so much to Kathryn Devine Reference Librarian Washington State Library, for due diligence and very timely reply!! – Grateful Thanks…”

“Hats off to Ms. Kathryn Devine. Questions answered succinctly and with sufficient information to follow up. You Guys ROCK!”

“I didn’t realize at the last minute that this was for the library instead of the Revenue’s contact us page. Kathryn went ahead and helped me anyway, so she’s awesome!”

So if you need help with a good meaty research question, particularly about Washington State history, contact us. You will make Kathryn’s day and you will no doubt become another true fan.


Washington State Library providing timely and professional service in a virtual world

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on Washington State Library providing timely and professional service in a virtual world

As the Washington State Library adjusts to recent budget reductions which required a reduction in hours open to the public, we continue to provide excellent service.  As a 21st century library, we  provide service to information seekers using tools of the online world such as talking with a reference librarian through chat. Questions come into our Washington State Library specific “Ask a Librarian” page via email or live online chat every day and our reference librarians are cracker jacks at finding just the information you seek. These questions range in scope from government research to interesting stories found in newspapers. In the most recent quarter 261 questions were answered via live chat and 1178 via email. ask a librarianEach of these patrons received their answer from a distance, without ever leaving their home or workplace.

Here are just a few of the comments received from our happy customers.

 I received the documents I requested via email in less than 1 hour. I couldn’t ask for better service.

 I love communicating by e-mail and appreciate your fast service. 

 I love this site. I have not needed to use it often but have always gotten the information I asked for. It’s fast, easy & the librarians are always knowledgeable & polite. Love, love, love it! 

 I was extremely pleased with the quick, professional response, and the spot-on answer to my question. Thanks to Mary Schaff and everyone else responsible for this important service.

 THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! You’ve been a tremendous help, and I can’t thank you enough. Quick and courteous help. Thank you so much!

 I thank you so much for your timely and professional help with my search your service is valuable and appreciated Thank you.

 The Washington State Library is always exceptionally helpful and responsive.

 Do you work for a government agency? We would love to expand this service to additional governmental and quasi-governmental agencies. If you are interested in placing an Ask a Librarian chat widget on your website (just like the picture)  contact Crystal Lentz at crystal.lentz@sos.wa.gov.

As part of the Help Center we also provide assistance to individuals using Access Washington who need assistance.

Feeling frustrated?  Google isn’t giving you the information you need? Remember, just Ask a Librarian.


Happy Holidays From Carty the Reindeer and Public Services Staff!

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on Happy Holidays From Carty the Reindeer and Public Services Staff!