Who better to write about the Washington State Library than Maryan Reynolds, state librarian from 1951 to 1974? She also played an important role in procuring the State Library building constructed in 1959 on the Capitol grounds in Olympia. The library moved to Tumwater and was opened to the public January 2, 2002 in its new location.

The Dynamics of Change is an original and valuable history of the Washington State Library from its territorial beginnings in 1853 to the late 1990s. Reynolds provides a personal account of the library’s expansion since the 1940s, when she joined the staff.

The author chronicles the development of this important state public service and describes how the library facilitated the effective operation of state government. She recounts the efforts to develop a public library statewide that also serves people outside the mainstream. The library preserves a record of contributions of outstanding Washingtonians whose vision and dedication made them pioneers in their respective fields.

For example, Isaac Stevens, first territorial governor (1853-57), donated his personal library to found the Washington State Library. He had been involved in railroad surveys and Indian affairs, and he established the territorial government. For many years, the library was intended for the exclusive use of the state legislature, but by the early 20th century it was opened to Washington citizens. That role was particularly expanded after World War II under the direction of Reynolds.

Reynolds’ book is a valuable resource for studies on state government, the development of the state library system, and the leading role women have played in establishing technologically sophisticated and nationally acclaimed library services for Washingtonians.

Maryan E. Reynolds with Joel Davis
WSU Press
Pullman, WA