News Releases

Sno-Isle Libraries photo project puts region's history online

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — Women drawing water from the Langley town pump in the 1920s. Elegant bicyclists posing with a drive-through tree in the 1890s. Construction of Everett’s Boeing plant in the 1960s.

One photo at a time, Sno-Isle Libraries is putting the region’s history online with its Digitize Our Community History Project. With 530 images in its catalog and more added daily, the project is celebrating the end of its first year and inviting new partners.

The best thing about the archive is its location on the library district website, said Warner Blake of the Snohomish Historical Society.

“You can share them with a lot more people than if the images were on display in a museum,” Blake said, noting the universal interest in the past. “When visitors come to Snohomish they ask shopkeepers up and down First Street, ‘What was this place before?’ ”

The archive includes photos from the collections of the Snohomish, Edmonds, South Whidbey and Darrington historical societies, as well as the files of the Everett Herald. They can be found online at

The captioned photos are linked to detailed information that will be valuable to researchers, said project leader Colleen Brazil of Sno-Isle Libraries.

“There’s even a feature that allows people to send the pictures as e-mail postcards,” said Brazil, who oversees the Sno-Isle catalog.

Most of the organizations that began the project in 2013 are continuing their involvement this year.

“We’re accepting applications from other groups that want to participate, and hope to pick three or four of them soon,” Brazil said.

The project got off the ground thanks to two grants. The Washington State Library Rural Heritage Program provided $5,435 to begin a digitization project with the South Whidbey Historical Society and the Langley Library. That was spent on professional digitization of film, a temporary worker to scan and describe the images, and two hard drives.

A $20,000 Sno-Isle Libraries Strategic Initiatives Grant provided the hardware, software and computer servers needed to start an ongoing digital archive. 

To build the archive, historical society volunteers scanned pictures from their archives. Von Flake, a student intern from the University of Washington’s iSchool, worked on the Everett Herald photos.

“If any group has interest in participating in the project, they should contact the manager of their local library who will coordinate with us for the application process,” said Brazil.

Potential applicants are invited to attend a celebration and information session at 1 p.m. April 18 at the Sno-Isle Service Center in Marysville. Brazil asked that they contact her in advance at, phone 360-651-7046, before April 16.


(Photo credit: Langley pump, South Whidbey Historical Society)


About Sno-Isle Libraries

Sno-Isle Libraries serves 687,000 residents through 21 community libraries across Snohomish and Island counties, as well as through online library and mobile library services to childcare, preschool and senior centers.


For more information, contact:
Colleen Brazil, Content Access Manager
Julie Titone, Communications and Marketing Manager