Kansas became a state in 1861. At that time the territorial library became the State Library of Kansas.
The library opened in 1900.
There are more than 200,000 books and documents in the State Library.
The State Library is a depository for federal and state government documents.
The brass railing in the foyer features a sunflower design.
The second level contains 383 glass panes and the glass is nearly 1” thick.
The library’s stacks are made of steel and support the glass floor.
Two historic book lifts continue to be used to transport books between the first and second levels of the library.
A bird’s head, a pineapple and a face with an ornamental headdress, can be found within the library’s stenciling.
The oldest book in the library is Law Tracts by Sir Francis Bacon, copyright date 1741.
The first state librarian, Rev. David Dickinson M.D., served four years and received an annual salary of $500.
Annie Diggs was the fifth state librarian from 1898 to1902. She was known as a Populist orator, politician and social reformer.
The Traveling Libraries Commission and the Kansas Library Association was established while she was the state librarian.
Annie Diggs helped design the State Library. Her desk is presently displayed in the library’s foyer. Diggs had this to say bout the newly opened library in September, 1900:
“The new rooms are not only spacious and commodious, but delightfully attractive as well. The frescoing is exquisite in color and the woodwork fine of finish. There is no convenience known to the modern library which is unsupplied.” -from the Kansas State Library by Allen Gardiner
Eric Norris is the 17th and current state librarian, beginning his tenure in 2018. Norris leads the State Library’s team in assisting the needs of Kansas residents and public libraries throughout the state.