The State Library of Kansas has a new address as of Dec. 30. Phones and email addresses remain the same, but the physical location, 169W, is a configuration of eight mobile units located at the southwest corner of the Capitol. It’s the Library’s home until June 2012.
To facilitate the move, the Library closed to the public Friday, Dec. 18 and remained closed through Wednesday, Dec. 30
The massive move includes 22 full-time staff, 300,000 documents and books, 39 computers, printers and copiers, more than 30 desks and chairs, and numerous file cabinets.
The State Library’s history is interesting. The State Library had its beginnings in 1855 when the Territorial Legislature created the Territorial Library. In 1863, two years after statehood, the Kansas Legislature appropriated $2,000 as the first funds for a State Library. The Library included both a general and a law collection and was housed in the state auditor’s office who also acted as librarian. Legislation in 1870 designated a board of directors and a State Librarian appointed by the governor.
Through the 1890’s the State Library was housed in a single room in the East wing of the Capitol, just off the Supreme Court Chamber. Until 1976, the State Library also included the Supreme Court law library. Following construction of the north wing of the capitol, the State Library was moved in 1900 to its present home on the third floor. The move is actually the first time the State Library has been outside of the capital for 130 years.
The State Library’s services have changed and adapted with the needs of Kansans. In 1889, the State Library began a traveling library to serve rural Kansans. In 1964, a statewide regional system of cooperating libraries was created, and in 1975, a grants program was developed to assist rural libraries. In the early 1970s the Kansas Talking Books Service launched to address the needs of individuals with low vision. In 1980 a service to help Kansans obtain important U.S. and Kansas census information was added. In 2005, the Library added its newest program, Kansas Center for the Book which is associated with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
The State Library has provided reference services on legislative and state government issues since it opened its doors in the late 1800’s.
Although the Library’s services have changed and adapted over the years, it is the library’s mission to serve the citizens of Kansas. In early statehood years, the Library offered traveling library materials to reach rural Kansans. Later, as a ready resource to the executive and legislative branches of state government, the State Library has served as depository of legal and historical documents. Today, with new technology and access to expansive databases, the State Library of Kansas offers more information than ever to the citizens of Kansas. Visit our website, www.kslib.info.