Change at the Washington State Library!


The Washington State Library, under the Office of the Secretary of State Kim Wyman, is committed to advancing research in the area of Pacific Northwest government, history, and culture.  Its staff facilitates public access and awareness of State Library collections which are a unique and lasting public legacy for the citizens and leaders of our state. With these ideals in mind, the following service highlights were instituted in February 2017:


What’s New

A State Information Hub in our building lobby featuring two 10-minute-use computer stations, easy hold pickups, and a State Library staff person who can help with quick questions and referrals.  The Hub’s hours are 10 AM to 4 PM.

The State Library 2nd Floor Reading Room is open by appointment only to persons engaged in active collection usage and research.  There are no public computer terminals for unlimited use.  Appointments to use the library for a quiet place to work or to use the public Wi-Fi are available dependent on staff availability.  Click here to book your appointment now.

The 2nd Floor Reading Room will be newly configured to include designated space for collaboration and research appointments. A small break room allows researchers not using collection materials to eat and drink onsite without interrupting their research time.

Library subject specialists are available by appointment for in-depth consultations on research topics including federal, state, and local government, PNW history, and genealogy.

What’s Staying the Same

The same professional staff and smiling faces are available to serve you in person, over the phone, and online. 

Quick use internet terminals in the Hub allow for brief email and social media checks, as well as 10 free copies for those in need of printouts for government business.  Computers in the Reading Room continue to provide access to research databases such as ProQuest, Ancestry, and Newsbank.

Reference assistance is available through Ask a Librarian by phone, email, or live chat from 8 AM to 5 PM.  Library staff continue to dedicate themselves to partnerships with state government and community stakeholders.


Questions and Answers

What are the biggest changes the Library put into effect in February?

Our empty lobby is now home to a quick information hub, with two 10-minute computer stations and a staff person to assist with library holds, circulation, and quick questions.  Our reading room no longer has public access computer terminals for general use, and is open by appointment only.  The hub’s hours are 10 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Friday.

Why are you making these changes?

The State Library’s leadership, with support from the Secretary of State, has decided to reemphasize our library’s unique position as a premiere research facility.  Our staff has been asked to prioritize their expertise in state government and Northwest history and dedicate more of their time to serving stakeholders working in those areas.

I really need access to a public computer for longer than 10 minutes a day. Don’t you have to provide this for me?

The Washington State Library serves the public but was not established as a traditional public library.  None of our governing RCWs, WACs, or Secretary of State policies state we must provide internet access for reasons other than facilitating the use of our collections.  The local Timberland Public Library system has several branch libraries nearby where you can use a public computer.  We understand these changes might pose a problem for some of our users and we apologize.

How do these appointments work? Do I have to know ahead of time how I’ll be using the library?

Research appointments are granted for the following reasons: a consultation with a reference librarian on a topic related to Pacific Northwest history, government, genealogy, or culture; browsing the Northwest collection; reviewing Washington newspapers in print or on microfilm; using materials from our other rare and government collections; utilizing collaborative workspaces for projects related to state government.  Appointments are not granted for purposes unrelated to the State Library’s research collections and expertise.  Click here to book your appointment now.

Who can I contact with feedback about these changes?

You are welcome to contact Deputy State Librarian Crystal Lentz at if you have questions or concerns that are not addressed here.