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State Library Milestones
Agency Overview

The State Library of Oregon is composed of three program divisions: Library Support and Development, Government Information and Library Services, and Talking Book and Braille Library. Together, these three divisions strive to fulfill the Oregon State Library's mission to provide quality information to Oregon state government, provide quality library materials to blind and print-disabled Oregonians, and to provide leadership, grants, and other assistance to improve library service to all Oregonians.
State Librarians 
Cornelia Marvin: 1905-1928
Virginia C Bacon: 1929-1929
Harriet C Long: 1930-1941
Eleanor Stephens: 1941-1958
Eloise Ebert: 1959-1976
Marcia Lowell: 1977-1983
Wesley A. Doak: 1983-1991
Jim Scheppke: 1991-2011 
MaryKay Dahlgreen: 2012-2018

1905: House Bill 6 establishing the Oregon Library Commission  is introduced by Congressman Linthicum in the 23rd Legislative Assembly and is first read January 10th. The Bill passes the House on January 21st and the Senate on February 3rd. 
Cornelia Marvin becomes the Secretary of the Oregon Library Commission with a salary of $1200 a year.
1907: The Legislature passes a law requiring the state printer to give the State Librarian bound copies of state publications, to be distributed to selected Oregon libraries marking the beginning of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. 
1913: The Legislature passes a bill to create the Supreme Court Library (formerly known as the State Library) and renames the Oregon Library Commission the Oregon State Library. 


1932: Oregon State Library (OSL) offers Reading Courses. Courses consist of reading suggestions on various topics, aimed at unemployed youth who are unable to attend college; in the first 18 months of service over 1470 students take part.  It later grows to include workers in the federal Civilian Conservation Corps camps.
1933: The legislature approves the construction of the State Library building.
1935: In November, a special session of the legislature creates the State Capitol Reconstruction Commission to oversee the construction of the new State Capitol and State Library buildings.
1937: In March, the legislature appropriates $550,000 for the State Library project, with $450,000 available from the WPA.
1942: “Ask Your State Librarian”, a weekly radio program, is broadcast over the state owned radio station, KOAC in Corvallis.
1945: The Legislative Assembly makes budgetary provision for a State Archivist (at the recommendation of the Board of Trustees), which operates under the supervision of the State Librarian.
1946: David Duniway becomes Oregon’s first State Archivist.


1962: A Field Services Division is established to promote development of public library services and provide consultant services. 
1965: Interstate Library Compact becomes law in Oregon, Washington and Idaho which encourages and facilitates sharing of resources amongst these three states. 
1967: OSL publishes Master Book Catalog; the first book catalog to be published by any State Library in the nation.  It contains a listing of all adult non-fiction acquired prior to November 1965 and was equivalent to a 1,200 drawer card catalog.


1969: Talking Book and Braille Services moves from Multnomah County Library to the Oregon State Library, Church Street annex in Salem.
1973: The Archives Division and archival services are transferred from the State Library to the Secretary of State’s office.
1976: Marion and 13th Street annex of the State Library become the second home of Talking Books.
1981: OSL suffers a severe cutback in services due to a 10 percent budget cut by the Governor and an additional 10 percent cut by the Legislature.  Assistance to out-of-state residents and telephone reference service to individuals is curtailed.
1985: Talking Books moves to the State Library building and patron information and book circulation become automated.
1987: Oregon Intellectual Clearinghouse is established to track formally challenged library materials in Oregon. 



1991: The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) requests funds from the Legislative Assembly as part of the 1991-93 capitol construction program. Some of these funds are used to carry out needed improvements to the State Library building.
The Library changes its mission to move away from acting as a public library for the citizens of Oregon and towards becoming a special library that meets the information needs of state government employees. 
Talking Books receives a Governor’s award for providing volunteer opportunities to disabled Oregonians.
1993: A Bill passes in the Legislature creating a State Library assessment of state agencies for library services. This assessment replaces General Fund money and Federal Library Services and Construction Act funds in the State Library budget.
Another bill passes creating the Children's Services Improvement Grant Program (later renamed the Ready to Read Grant Program) to improve services to children in public libraries.
1998: In September, renovation of the State Library begins.
2000: The renovation is completed.
2005: The State Library celebrates its 100 year anniversary.
2006: The Library institutes the Oregon Documents Repository, which collects, preserves, and provides access to online publications of Oregon state government.
2007: In February, the State Library Board of Trustees creates the Government Research Services Advisory Council.
State Library is designated as the Regional Federal Depository Library
The Oregon Documents Depository Program celebrates its centennial. 
The State Library and the Oregon State Poetry Association form a partnership to develop the Oregon Poetry Collection at the State Library and the Poet Laureate's Reading Room.
2009: Irene Price Society is created for TBABS
In September, TBABS introduces the new talking book digital player and digital talking books. 
2011: Jim Scheppke retires as State Librarian on December 31st.

2012: Libraries of Oregon website was launched.

The State Library moved to DAS HR Client Services

2013: Dedication of the Pioneer Room in the Talking Book and Braille Library Servcies Conference

2014: Reference Room was closed.

Creation of new mission, vision and values for the State Library

Poetry collection was moved to the University of Oregon

Change of Division names to:

  • Government Information and Library Services
  • Library Support and Development Services
  • Operations
  • Talking Book and Braille Library

2015: Answerland was moved to the State Library

State Library shares an ILS system with Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Services

Willamette Valley Genealogical Society moved to Salem Public Library.

Talking Book and Braille Library Donor Board was installed.

2016: The State Library Board was expanded from 7 members to 9 with designated positions (HB 3523).

The State Library Board of Trustees was renamed the State Library Board (HB 3523).

State Librarian moved from being Board appointed to appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Governor.

The 1937 elevator was renoted and updated with modern mechanism.

Last staff exchange with Horner Exchange program at the Fujian Provincial Library in Fujian, China.

Government Servcies purchased new Digital Asset Management System - Islandora by LYRASIS for the Oregon Documents Depository Program.

Oregon Documents Summit held at the State Library.

2017: goverment Services opened the Government Room for public access.

Rebranded the state Library of Oregon.

Launched a new logo fo r the state Library of Oregon.

2018: Government Services Division and Operations Division moved temporarily into the Reference Room while renovations are completed.

Caren Agata was appointed Interim State Librarian.


To see a bibliography of sources used/consulted, follow the link below: