State Programs > State Profiles
Alaska

State Librarian

Ms. Linda S. Thibodeau
State Librarian and Director
Alaska Department of Education, Division of Libraries, Archives & Museums
P.O. Box 110571
Juneau, AK 99811-0571
Phone: 907/465-2911
Fax: 907/465-2151
E-mail: linda.thibodeau@alaska.gov

State library website:
http://library.state.ak.us

photo of Alaska State Librarian“Technology, telecommunications infrastructure, and staff training will continue to be major priorities. IT services are important for outreach generally, and specifically for the underserved in our many remote and rural areas. Another benefit: Tech resources enhance cooperation and sharing among all libraries in Alaska.”

--Linda S. Thibodeau, State Librarian and Director, Alaska Department of Education, Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums

 

The Grants to States Program

The Grants to States Program is the largest grant program run by IMLS; it provides funds to State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs) using a population-based formula set by the law. SLAAs determine goals and objectives for the funds in their statutorily required five-year plan (see below). For more information, see the Grants to States program overview.

 

Recent Allotments

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
$990,663 $960,008 $952,947 $941,340 $955,925


View allotments for all states
.

 

Project Examples

Ready to Read Resource Center
The Anchorage Public Library used grant funds to continue the Ready to Read Resource Center (RRRC) project, which promotes early literacy development in infants and toddlers throughout Alaska. Many of the state’s young children enter kindergarten unprepared to learn to read and lacking fundamental communication skills and awareness of phonological and print concepts such as alphabet knowledge. Adults also need information about early literacy development and the skills to encourage it. The RRRC project addressed these needs by providing informational and practical training sessions on early literacy development for library staff, early childhood professionals, and family caregivers. The library also provided these audiences with a ready supply of children's books, especially in rural areas. Additionally, the project circulated young children’s reading kits and partnered with allied agencies to raise awareness about literacy development during the first three years of life.
IMLS Funds: $82,151

Poetry North
The Tuzzy Consortium Library presented a high profile poetry program in northern Alaska to address an overall decline in poetry reading among all age groups and to inspire, entertain, and ultimately bring about a change in the reading habits of its participants. Few Alaska Native poets have realized success with their craft, but Poetry North spotlighted two of them along with an additional Alaskan poet of high esteem. The poets traveled to Barrow, Kotzebue, and Nome to share their art through writing activities and public performances, which were very powerful experiences in these remote and underserved communities. Few have the resources to purchase books there, and public artistic performances are limited, making the libraries key resources in these remote communities. As part of the grant, each library received poetry books for its collection.
IMLS Funds: $10,626

Other project(s) featured through IMLS media include:

Search the Awarded Grants Database for additional details about awards in this state.

 

Five-Year Plan

Each state creates a 5-year plan for its programs to strengthen the efficiency, reach, and effectiveness of library services. Click here to read Alaska's 5-year plan for 2013-2017 (PDF, 227KB). View all states' plans.

 

Five-Year Plan Highlights

Lifelong Learning

General Services and Initiatives

  • Encourage and support author visits and cultural programming for people all ages.
  • Support planning for the creation of flexible learning and meeting spaces within libraries.

Literacy

  • Support reading motivation programs, including the statewide summer reading program, for children, teens, and adults in public and school libraries.
  • Develop and publicize the early childhood resource center.

Online Learning

  • Use in-person, online, and video delivery to provide the public with technology training in digital literacy, including basic computer skills, research, electronic resources, and media creation.

Collaborations

  • Partner with schools, home school organizations, universities, literacy projects, Head Start, Best Beginnings, museums, and other libraries and agencies to provide educational opportunities in various delivery modes to the public.

Information Access

General Services and Initiatives

  • Offer Books-by-Mail or appropriate alternatives to Alaskans living in areas without public libraries.
  • Provide consultation and assistance to libraries for assessing and evaluating local collections for inclusion in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), a library, archive, and museum cooperative owned and run by its more than 25,900 members, and other databases and catalogs.
  • Assist in local efforts to provide materials in Alaska Native languages.

Access to E-Resources

  • Help libraries pilot e-content, including e-books, e-magazines, downloadable audio and video, statewide databases, and other emerging options for delivering content.
  • Publicize statewide electronic resources and services to both rural and urban Alaskans.

Interlibrary Loans

  • Support SLED, the Statewide Library Electronic Doorway, and collaborate with statewide consortia and groups to expand access to Alaska’s online electronic resources and services.

Digitization/Preservation

  • Support creation or digitization of resources that document Alaska’s history and its peoples in a culturally responsive and appropriate manner.

Reference Services

  • Support reference service through the existing 800# reference and interlibrary loan backup service and by exploring new technological means of providing reference.

Economic and Employment Development

Job Seekers

  • Become centers for workforce development by providing assistance with employment searches, vocational education, certification, job hunting, and career management.

Business Resources

  • Become idea incubators for local businesses and entrepreneurs by providing business information, services, and classes on how to start a business, e-commerce, funding sources, marketing, and management.

Institutional Capacity

Continuing Education

  • Offer training for library staff in new technologies and traditional library skills to meet the needs of the public, and award scholarships for professional certification or advanced degrees.
  • Support state, regional, and national leadership development programs and conferences for Alaska librarians.
  • Train staff in community outreach and event and meeting planning to expand the use of library facilities.
  • Train librarians and other service providers who work with children from birth to age three in effective techniques.
  • Assist libraries interested in developing alternative governance or financing structures or in developing regional, borough, or statewide library services.

Marketing and Market Research

  • Formulate strategies to determine whether local library service is desired and feasible in communities that do not have public libraries.
  • Publicize LSTA-funded library services and programs to rural and urban Alaskans.

Partnerships

  • Work with school and tribal libraries to design and support library service alternatives in communities without public libraries.
  • Support the Alaska Library Network and other entities as they strengthen Alaska’s libraries through effective coordination of cooperative services and programs.
  • Foster partnerships with community, regional and statewide organizations to meet community needs and improve library services.

Technology

  • Foster development of multi-platform apps so people can access library resources on mobile devices.
  • Acquire hardware and software necessary to support public and student access to electronic resources.
  • Assist libraries and communities in developing strategies to obtain affordable bandwidth that meets local needs.
  • Provide computers, software and peripheral equipment for collaborative spaces to create and use digital and emerging media.
  • Work with telecommunication providers and other agencies to expand low-cost high speed access to libraries and communities in rural Alaska.

Civic Engagement

Programs

  • Promote civic engagement by offering programs and venues to discuss issues of public concern.
  • Help libraries serve as venues for a broad range of cultural, entertainment and community activities.
  • Support improved library service and accessibility to cultural and historical programs for and about Alaska Natives and Alaska Native culture.

Access to Government Information

  • Meet the needs of people who want to access government information and electronic forms and online services.

Civic Collaboration

  • Help libraries work with local and state entities to become disaster response centers with appropriate equipment, supplies and training.

Human Services

Special Services for Special Needs

  • Assist libraries in determining and meeting the special needs of people who are disabled or elderly.
  • Assist libraries in determining and meeting the needs of people from various cultures and non-English speaking groups in their communities.

 

Five-Year Evaluation

At the end of a 5-year period, each state reports their results in achieving goals and objectives projected in their 5-Year Plan. Click here to read Alaska's 5-year evaluation for 2008-2012 (PDF, 2,604KB). View all states' evaluations.

 

IMLS Data Collection

State Library Survey
The State Library Agency Survey (SLAA) provides descriptive data about state library agencies for all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Public Library Survey
The Public Library Survey (PLS) provides national descriptive data on the status of public libraries in the United States and its territories. Data are collected from over 9,000 public library systems with over 17,000 public library outlets. Click here for Alaska's profile from the most recent PLS publication (PDF, 374KB).