State Programs > State Profiles

State Librarian

Michael Scott
State Librarian
State Library of Iowa
1112 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515/281-4105
Fax: 515/281-6191

State library website:

“Most of the LSTA funds will be used for statewide initiatives, including building partnerships. Efforts related to digital literacy will be primary. Programs related to civic engagement will be a priority. We’ll share best practices throughout the state.”

--Michael Scott, State Librarian, State Library of Iowa


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

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
$1,885,804 $1,844,037 $1,787,353 $1,839,676 $1,830,898

View allotments for all states


Project Examples

Marie Harms teaching librarians how to build their websitesSILO
Iowa’s statewide library information network, SILO, is a partnership between the state library and Iowa State University that promotes resource sharing and cost-effective, high-quality service to Iowans. SILO provides the infrastructure for statewide interlibrary loan, a union catalog, electronic mail lists, email service for libraries, web hosting for the state library and public libraries, and domain name hosting services. During the project period, 17 new libraries joined the Putting Libraries on the Web (PLOW) initiative, for a grand total of 309 library websites hosted by SILO through open source software. The websites make library services more accessible to users, and they are preloaded with information specific to each library, including links to local catalogs, location, hours, and contact information. SILO staff also provided technical support for all state library services, including the Iowa Center for the Book, the State Data Center, Iowa Publications Online, and Iowa Heritage Digital Collections.
IMLS Funds: $284,963

RSVP volunteers making the large print shipment possibleMaterials for Iowans Who Are Visually Impaired
Through this statewide project, the Decorah Public Library distributed large print and audio books to libraries throughout Iowa, providing expanded, equitable access to library materials for people who are visually impaired. Two part-time staff and 21 retired and senior volunteers ran the service, and the U.S. Postal Service shipped materials at no charge. Items were checked out for a period of three months and rotated through monthly shipments. The project served 160 libraries on a permanent rotation basis, an additional 60 libraries participated as needed, and there were an estimated 2,000 users. In the annual survey, 94 percent of respondents said they could continue to read because of the service and the same percentage reported that having large-print books improved their quality of life. The project is achieved through several partnerships and offers a cost-effective means of reaching its target population.
IMLS Funds: $25,396

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 Iowa's 5-year plan for 2013-2017 (PDF, 268KB). View all states' plans.


Five-Year Plan Highlights

Lifelong Learning

General Services and Initiatives

  • Stimulate and promote public interest in books, reading, and libraries through programs such as the Iowa Center for the Book.
  • Help libraries stretch their budgets by pursuing and publicizing library discounts and facilitating the development of library purchasing consortia.


  • Support the statewide annual summer reading program.


  • Support school library programs by collaborating with the Iowa Library Association/Iowa Association of School Librarians, the Iowa Department of Education, the Area Education Agencies, and others.

Information Access

General Services and Initiatives

  • Take a leadership role in monitoring trends and sharing information on technology and other developments that affect libraries.

Access to E-Resources

  • Enhance the Putting Libraries on the Web (PLOW) program.
  • Expand Iowa Publications Online.
  • Increase statewide availability of library materials, subscription databases and other digital resources. Research and share developing trends in making e-books and other digital resources available.

Interlibrary Loans

  • Enhance the statewide SILO interlibrary loan system and develop a shared library automation system or systems.


  • Improve access to and add additional collections to Iowa Heritage Collections.

Institutional Capacity

Continuing Education

  • Help librarians meet the special library-related needs of English Language Learners, job seekers, Iowans living in poverty, and Iowans with disabilities.
  • Provide training and tools to support local library staff assist patrons in digital literacy and early literacy training.
  • Deliver consulting services and continuing education courses (online and face-to-face) for Iowa library staff and boards that highlight best practices in library governance, management, and service delivery.
  • Encourage and facilitate communication among Iowa libraries aimed at sharing best practices and developing solutions for shared problems.
  • Foster a culture of innovation and collaboration within Iowa Library Services.

Marketing and Market Research

  • Improve access to and understanding of statistics about Iowa’s population and economy. Take the lead in communicating the essential roles Iowa libraries play as physical places for community gatherings, as well as centers of early literacy skill development, lifelong learning, workforce development, and economic enhancement.

Civic Engagement


  • Provide training and tools to support local libraries in building civic engagement in their communities.

Access to Government Information

  • Improve access to Iowa’s state documents.


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 Iowa's 5-year evaluation for 2008-2012 (PDF, 1,108KB). 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 Iowa's profile from the most recent PLS publication (PDF, 336KB).