The Washington State Library

News, Links, and Fun from the Public Services Team

Fall 2008 Brings Changes to the Blog

Posted by wastatelib on October 8, 2008

Update August 5, 2008:

All of the Washington State Library blogs have been consolidated in a new location!  The address for one stop shopping is:

Hope to see you there!

Some of you have been kind enough to email and remind us that it’s been ages since our last post.  Yes, indeed it has – and we apologize!  But we’re happy to announce that as of this week, the Washington State Library Public Services Blog will be moving to a new home on the Secretary of State’s website:

While we’ve been very happy with WordPress over the last two years, we’re even more happy to find a permanent home on our official servers! 

What this means for you:

  • Those of you whose computers were blocked from accessing blogging websites like WordPress should now be able to access our most recent news and features.
  • You shouldn’t notice any change in our content.  We’ll still feature Newspaper Gems, Government Documents, and notices about our Events.  We’re also looking at the possibility of posting book reviews and expanding our Research Success Stories.
  • You may think that things look a little sparse compared to our digs on WordPress, but we’re working to recreate much of the content found on the tabbed pages here on the State Library’s website
  • This is a great time to let us know what features you’d like to see here.  If you have ideas about Washington, Northwest, or State Library- themed content you’d like to read about, just leave a comment.  You can also drop us an email at:  We read all our comments and are eager to gather new ideas on how to improve.

Thanks to all of you who have supported this “little blog that could”!  Please visit us at our new home:

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Genealogy Databases at the Washington State Library

Posted by wastatelib on July 18, 2008

Many of our patrons are already aware of our standing subscriptions to and HeritageQuest, but the Washington State Library also has some new databases that will definitely be of interest to family historians. 


The collections feature documents, most never before available before on the Internet, relating to the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, U.S. Presidents, historical newspapers and naturalization documents.

At the Washington State Library, you have special access to images that are normally part of their paid subscription services. You don’t need to sign in or register to view these images or any other content on Footnote while you are here.

Historic Map Works Library Edition (distributed by ProQuest)
Trial subscription through Sept 5 2008

We have not purchased this database, but we just started a trial run which ends September 5.  Please drop in before it’s over and let us know what you think! Your feedback helps us decide which databases to purchase for our library.

Here is a description from the creators:

Our high quality, full color digital collection of historic maps is one of the most extensive available. The core of the collection consists of over 100,000 cadastral, land ownership maps detailing the geographic and development history of the United States over several hundred years. There is extensive coverage of rural and suburban areas, as well as cities and towns across America.

Why not stop by and give these valuable genealogy resources a spin?  The smart genealogist avoids costly personal subscription fees and uses the databases at the State Library for free!  Information on our open hours and directions can be found here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Research Success Story: The 1885 Winlock Band

Posted by wastatelib on July 3, 2008

It’s been ages since we’ve featured one of our Newspaper Gems, but in celebration of the 4th of July we thought we’d combine that feature along with a Research Success Story.  Frequently librarians don’t get to see the full stories behind the diligent research pursued here at the State Library.  But sometimes one of our patrons will surprise us with a picture or a finished research paper that helps us understand the great discoveries just waiting in our collections for someone to uncover them.  We hope that we can share more of these stories with you in the future.

Today’s story features Jill, who contacted us with a problem.  She had in her possession a picture of a small brass band in front of a wooden building that was labeled, “Winlock Band, Centralia W.T., July 4, 1885.”  She wondered how this picture related to her ancestor, John T. Burgess, a noted musician and businessman who died in Montana in 1896.  John had a colorful personal life and had been linked to a number of other musical groups, but what was he doing at the time this picture was taken?  What was his role in the Winlock Band?

Librarian Mary thought that a local paper from Centralia might have some description of the 4th of July activities, but wasn’t sure if the Winlock Band would be described in enough detail to be helpful in Jill’s search.  But Mary hit the mother lode in the July 11, 1895 Chehalis Nugget.  The paper not only described the 109th Anniversary of Independence festivities in detail (down to the ladies who were costumed to represent various qualities of Liberty and individual States of the Union), but it also listed the names of members of the Winlock Band.  The first name to appear was “John Burgess (leader).”  The Chehalis Nugget answered Jill’s question about her ancestor’s role in the Winlock Band decisively.  Click here to read the account from the Nugget.

Mary was delighted to receive an envelope from Jill less than a week later which contained a letter of thanks as well as a copy of the picture of John T. Burgess and the Winlock Band on that 4th of July in Centralia so long ago.  John is the first person on the left in the top row, wearing a top hat.  If anyone can definitely match another of the names listed in the Nugget to the band members in the picture, please let us know!  We’d love to put more names with faces.

We’re very grateful to Jill for both the picture and the permission to share her Research Success Story here.  Thanks, Jill!

Have a safe and happy Independence Day, everyone!

Posted in Newspaper Gems, Research Success Story | 1 Comment »

Washington State Students are National History Day Winners!

Posted by wastatelib on June 20, 2008

Washington State was well represented at the National History Day competition in Maryland this year!  51 Washington students, the top winners from the statewide History Day held back in April at the University of Washington, traveled to College Park to take on the best student historians from around the country.  And when the dust cleared and the awards were handed out, Washingtonians grabbed an astonishing number of prizes!

Most notable of these prize winners is Stanwood’s Amy Christianson who won National History Day’s Top Prize, the David van Tassel Scholarship.  The prize is a four-year, all expenses paid scholarship to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  Congratulations, Amy!

The many other top medalists from Washington are described in detail on the Washington History Day blog.  The complete list of winners from across the country is found on the National History Day site.  Congratulations to all of these student scholars who helped Washington State achieve the second highest medal total out of all the competing states! 

Inspired?  Why not take some time over summer vacation to begin work on a project for next year’s History Day?  2009′s theme is “The Individual in History.”  More information can be found on Washington’s History Day page at the Washington State Historical Society’s website.

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2008 Events Rewind

Posted by wastatelib on June 9, 2008

Our 2007-2008 Evening Events wrapped up in an extremely satisfying way on May 22 when Washington Reads authors Jess Walter (Citizen Vince) and Jim Lynch (The Highest Tide) met up at the State Library to speak about their friendship and lives as writers.  Jess and Jim regaled the audience with readings from the works and stories about how their shared journalism experience influenced their writing.  The small size of the audience also allowed them to take questions and give hints about which projects might be next for this Award Winning duo.  What a great experience for everyone involved!

Our Brownbag series of Events also wrapped up on May 29 when the ladies of the Conservation Kitchen returned to demonstrate more economical and effective conservation strategies.  We’ve uploaded some pictures of Marcea’s creation of a paperback book cover so you can see her at work.  More information on this series can be found on our Handouts page.

Pictures from both events can be found on Flickr.  Thanks to everyone who made this years events – from Lucia Perillo to Jim and Jess and everyone in between – so very successful.  See you next year!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Washington State LAL Champion a National Winner!

Posted by wastatelib on May 16, 2008

McKenzie Dent, a 6th grader at Zeiger Elementary School in Puyallup, has been selected as one of two national Letters About Literature award winners at Level I!  McKenzie will receive her award in a special presentation at Zeiger Elementary School in June.  She wins a $500 Target gift card and a $10,000 grant for Glacier View Junior High School Library.  Glacier View Jr. High is currently under construction and will open September 2008.  McKenzie will attend Glacier View in the fall.  McKenzie wrote her letter to Alice Mead, the author of Soldier Mom.  Congratulations on your achievement, McKenzie!

More information on this year’s Letters About Literature contest is available on the Washington State Library’s website.

Posted in Letters About Literature | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

New Pictures Available!

Posted by wastatelib on April 15, 2008

We just finished uploading a big batch of pictures to Flickr, including images from the April 4th Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony and our March 20th event with “Orphan Tsunami of 1700” co-author David Yamiguchi.  Our belated thanks to David for a thoroughly entertaining and informative event and our heartiest congratulations to this year’s Letters About Literature semi-finalists and champions!

Posted in Library Events | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »


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