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Century of knowledge: Arizona State Library turns 100

PHOENIX — It’s time to wish happy birthday to a state gem — the Arizona State Library.

Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records opened its doors 100 years ago. It occupies a couple of floors in the Arizona State Capitol’s 1938 addition and includes the Arizona State Capitol Museum.

The tour of the building shows off the American flag that stood at the battle of San Juan Hill.

“This was the only flag that went to the Spanish-American War,” said Ted Hale, the library’s deputy director.

The library has a lot to offer, including a talking book library and more.

“It’s open to the public and has a law collection, a patent trademark resource center. It’s a very diverse organization,” Joan Clark, library director, said.

You can also trace your genealogy here, and you can also find the old Governor’s and Secretary of State’s Offices. Someone may be waiting for you inside.

“It’s Gov. (George W.P.) Hunt, our first governor, sitting in his office. It’s a sometimes very life-like replica,” Clark said.

The library’s Communications Director Kim Crawford says it was created by Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

In the old Secretary of State’s Office, you’ll find an exhibit called “Your Vote, Your Voice.”

“It helped trace this most recent election,” Clark said.

The library also has an interactive display where you can find out who your representative is. In addition, you will find the USS Arizona exhibit and a travelling exhibit of the works of Taiwanese Artist Chris Ho.

And now there’s something new. All of the information that you would have access to here, you can get online and in a printed pamphlet.

“Wherever somebody is, they can go to www.azlibrary.gov and find access to free reliable information,” Clark said. “Everything from reading material to full text professional journals and to help through our libraries.”

The printed pamphlet features the latest technology that was developed during each decade since Arizona became a state. For example, the “latest” technology was the typewriter. Arizona was the first state in the Union to have its Constitution typewritten.

Clark said that the Arizona State Library actually has five locations. Admission is free, and the hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The library is a division of the Secretary of State’s office.

Watch KTAR’s Bob McClay take a tour around the fascinating building.