Oregon State Library
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The Oregon State Library in Salem, is the library for the U.S. state of Oregon. The mission of the Oregon State Library is to provide quality information services to Oregon state government, provide reading materials to blind and print-disabled Oregonians, and provide leadership, grants, and other assistance to improve local library service for all Oregonians.
The Territorial Library was first housed in the Territorial Capitol Building that burned in 1855 with most of the library collection lost to the fire. The Oregon State Library was established as the Oregon Library Commission in 1905. The original mission of the Library was to establish public and school libraries throughout Oregon. Cornelia Marvin came to Oregon from the Wisconsin Free Library Commission to become the first State Librarian. Soon the State Library was also providing information to state government agencies and collecting and preserving the publications of state agencies.
Prior to the completion of a stand alone building in 1939, the state library was located in the basement and first floor of the Oregon Supreme Court Building. This building and the Oregon State Capitol were connected by tunnels used for heating and electricity, the fire that destroyed the capitol in 1935 also caused damaged to the library collections. This was due to the water used to fight the fire drained into the basement and destroyed many books stored in the library.
Today the Oregon State Library provides information services to over 37,000 state government employees. The State Library also circulates library materials in cassette and Braille format to approximately 7,000 blind and print-disabled Oregonians and provides grants and assistance to help develop and improve local library services, and to foster greater cooperation among all of Oregon's libraries. The library is also a depository for the Federal Depository Library Program.
Since its founding, the State Library has been governed by an independent Board of Trustees. The present board consists of seven citizens from throughout the state who are appointed by the governor to serve four-year terms.
The historic State Library Building, located in downtown Salem, was dedicated in 1939. It was the first building to be constructed on what is today known as the Capitol Mall, and was completed only two years after the dedication of the Oregon State Capitol in 1937. The State Library Building was extensively renovated in the 1990s.
The Reference Room on the second floor of the Library contains the most comprehensive collection of family history research materials in the state, provided through a partnership between the Library and the Willamette Valley Genealogical Society. Members of the Society are available to assist with family history research.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oregon State Library.|
- Salem Online History: State Library
- Oregon Geology: Library renovation
- The Origins of the Oregon State Library