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Kansas government publications, resources and information available from the State Library of Kansas

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Mar 20

Happy 150th Birthday, State Library of Kansas!

Posted on March 20, 2020 at 9:48 AM by Bill Sowers


Happy 150th Birthday, State Library of Kansas!!!

Mark this date on your calendar, folks: March 24th. On that date in 1870 the State of Kansas officially established the State Library as an independent agency with a State Librarian:

"Approved March 2, 1870. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the original enrolled bill now on file in my office and that the same was published in the Kansas weekly commonwealth, March 24, 1870. Thomas Moonlight, Secretary of State."

The history of the Library up to that point is summed up nicely by KU librarian emeritus, Bessie E. Wilder. in her book, "Bibliography of the Official Publications of Kansas, 1854-1958":

"The Territorial Legislature of 1858 founded a library under the management of a commission consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State, President of the Council, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Librarian. The Librarian was appointed by the Governor. Rules were passed in 1859 governing the care and use of the books. In 1861 the services of the Librarian were discontinued, and the property, consisting of maps, charts, pamphlets and books was put in the care of the State Auditor. The State Auditor was made ex officio State Librarian. His duties were to make a report to the Governor ten days before the Legislature convened, and to make out a written catalog of all books, maps, and pamphlets in the library. The Auditor served in this capacity from 1861-1869. In 1870 a law was passed creating the office of State Librarian, appointed by the Governor."

So the State Library of Kansas has two "birth years," in the 1850s as a Territorial Library and 1870 as a State Library.

Sooooo... I baked a cake!!!... but sadly due to the current health situation the State Library will be closed from March 23 to April 3 and I'll have to eat it at home. In light of that, on March 24th I'd suggest that you all make/obtain your own cake, cupcake or doughnut. Light a candle on top of it (Please don't try to use 150 candles), and celebrate the State Library of Kansas with us.

Of course while you're doing this you can check out some early publications on the State Library and read up on our early years: