State Programs > State Profiles

State Librarian

Ms. Beverly Cain
State Librarian
State Library of Ohio
274 East First Avenue
Suite 100
Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: 614/644-6843
Fax: 614/466-3584

State library website:

photo of Ohio State Librarian“Early childhood literacy remains a high priority, as is providing equal access statewide to information, including virtual reference resources that can be accessed through public, academic, and K-12 school libraries.  We’ll continue resource sharing efforts and will work with partners to develop plans for regional digitization hubs.”

--Beverly Cain, State Librarian, State Library of Ohio

Read the State Library of Ohio Interview with IMLS.


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
$5,879,314 $5,307,272 $5,120,439 $4,854,737 $5,034,831

View allotments for all states


Project Examples

Services to Youth/AWE AfterSchool Edge
To reduce the effects of summer learning loss in multiple subjects, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County installed AWE AfterSchool Edge computers, which are designed to help students maintain or improve skills in reading, math, writing, and science. The library purchased 13 AWE AfterSchool Edge computers—one for each of the 13 libraries selected because they were nearest to schools with low academic scores on the 2011 Ohio Department of Education’s Report Card. The AfterSchool Edge computers dovetailed with the library’s successful Early Learning Stations Project, which used equipment provided by AWE for children ages five and younger. As a result of the project, the Public Library and the Cincinnati Public Schools developed a stronger partnership.
IMLS Funds: $24,000

Serving Every Ohioan (SEO) Center
The Serving Every Ohioan (SEO) Center provides resource sharing services to Ohio residents in primarily rural areas through a shared online database of over 6.7 million library materials. Through this statewide project, 86 library systems across 45 Ohio counties have a fully adaptable, expandable, and customizable platform that allows the 198 libraries they serve to participate in a large consortium without losing their local policies and identity. Patrons use the database to find answers to reference questions or to request materials not available at their local library. During the project period the SEO Digital Download collection continued to expand and the SEO Center continued to operate and maintain a mobile computer training lab. The lab has been extremely popular and proved successful in improving patrons’ knowledge and skills in using computers.
IMLS Funds: $807,674

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 Ohio's 5-year plan for 2013-2017 (PDF, 307KB). View all states' plans.


Five-Year Plan Highlights

Lifelong Learning

General Services and Initiatives

  • Invest in projects that provide inclusive and accessible learning opportunities to individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, special needs, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and to underserved communities.


  • Coordinate summer reading program resources for public libraries across Ohio, including maintaining active membership in the national Collaborative Summer Library Program, and distribute related materials and other resources to them. Produce and distribute an evaluation tool annually for public libraries to use for reporting summer reading program results.
  • Support public libraries’ role as providers of early literacy experiences and education in their communities through resources, trainings, and other tools offered by the Ohio Ready-to-Read initiative.
  • Continue to grow the Choose to Read Ohio initiative to encourage reading and sharing of books and to promote appreciation of Ohio authors and literature, in partnership with Ohioana Library Association and Ohio Center for the Book.
  • Develop partnerships with stakeholders in the early childhood community to facilitate projects and affirm the role of public libraries in early literacy education.

Information Access

Access to E-Resources

  • Improve services and access to materials and information for all residents through the provision of virtual reference services, and build community awareness of what is available through virtual reference.
  • Provide access to the selected e-database content to all Ohioans via a combination of funding and methods developed with other Libraries Connect Ohio partners.
  • Provide library users access to e-content through the Ohio eBook Project Consortium.

Interlibrary Loans

  • The Serving Every Ohioan (SEO) Center will continue to identify and obtain print and electronic resources for libraries whose own collections are inadequate for user needs.
  • The SEO Automation Consortium will continue as a primary means through which public libraries access a shared integrated library system (ILS) for resource sharing.
  • Facilitate and promote statewide resource sharing.


  • Promote distribution and access of information through digitization and reformatting of materials, and develop and implement a strategy to expand public access to the information, meaning, and content found in the library collections.

Economic and Employment Development

Job Seekers

  • Partner with other agencies to leverage the resources of libraries in advancing national priorities, including education, digital literacy and economic and workforce development.

Business Resources

  • Encourage libraries to enhance economic capacity in the community through project and program partnerships. A key example is providing the information needs of small businesses.

Institutional Capacity

Continuing Education

  • Facilitate partnerships among libraries of all types and other education providers to improve the capacity of librarians and library leaders to offer learning opportunities and training to their customers.
  • Offer trainings for library staff via webinars, self-paced tutorials, pathfinders, in-person training sessions, and archived webinars on a variety of topics as requested by the Ohio library community.
  • Continue support of the Library Leadership Ohio initiative in 2014 and 2016.


  • Work on applications for smartphone platforms and social media tools through which library users can access statewide virtual library materials.

Civic Engagement


  • Invest in projects that strengthen the role of libraries as core components of the broader community learning and services infrastructure.
  • Encourage libraries to host forums that draw people together to discuss topics of local community interest.

Civic Collaboration

  • Encourage libraries to enhance economic capacity in the community through project and program partnerships. Examples include emergency preparedness, environmental concerns, and urban planning.
  • Partner with other agencies to leverage the resources of libraries in advancing national priorities, including disaster preparedness.

Human Services

Special Services for Special Needs

  • Continue to support the Blind and Physically Disabled Program.

Health and Social Services Information

  • Partner with other agencies to leverage the resources of libraries in advancing national priorities, including information about health.


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 Ohio's 5-year evaluation for 2008-2012 (PDF, 3,463KB). 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 Ohio's profile from the most recent PLS publication (PDF, 536KB).