State Programs > State Profiles

State Librarian

Dr. Rand Simmons
State Librarian
Washington State Library
Office of the Secretary of State
6880 Capitol Boulevard
P.O. Box 42460
Olympia, WA 98504-2460
Phone: 360/570-5585
Fax: 360/586-7575

State library website:

photo of Washington State Librarian“Empowering 21st Century Washington is our primary objective for the foreseeable future. That means we partner with early learning agencies and education providers to support our youth; we assist local libraries to support job-seekers and others to learn and use digital technologies that prepare them for a modern economy; we ensure that local libraries are constantly improving in their quest to provide quality library services; and we support local library’s outreach to all parts of their communities. We provide staff training in digital competencies, and to bring libraries together to develop best practices. We also provide grant funds for innovative library projects that move libraries and their communities into a rapidly changing world.”

--Rand Simmons, State Librarian, Washington State Library


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
$3,644,630 $3,351,575 $3,277,624 $3,149,790 $3,281,761

View allotments for all states


Project Examples

Department of Corrections Library Staffing and Resources
This statewide project served Washington’s inmate populations by delivering professional library and information services that supported their needs. There are nine adult prisons in the system and each branch provides material for re-entry, recovery, education, and recreation, as well as pro-social space in which inmates can access resources needed to make positive changes. These branch libraries support Department of Corrections programs and help prepare inmates to return to local communities. Grant funds supported library staff, who provided an average of 22.3 service hours per week per branch and responded to approximately 172,045 reference questions. Institution residents visited the libraries over 323,632 times during the project year and total circulation was 769,843 items.
IMLS Funds: $568,933

Tribal Sovereignty, Classroom-Based Assessments, and the Library: A Successful Combination
Cedar Wood Elementary School, Mill Creek Public Library, and the Tulalip Indian Tribes collaborated on preparing third, fourth, and fifth grade students for the successful completion of their classroom-based assessments (CBAs). The overall goal was to address the need for Washington-based elementary school students to gain a fresh and deeper perspective on the influences of Northwest Indian Tribes on their lives. Using the U.S. History Encounter, Colonization and Devastation curriculum, third graders focused on the Cultural Contributions CBA. Fourth graders focused on the Humans and the Environment CBA using the Tribal Homelands curriculum. Fifth graders completed their CBA on Causes of Conflict. The school principal was so committed to this initiative that he served as project manager. The process and success of this project prompted a discussion with the school superintendent on how all 17 elementary schools in the district could replicate the learning and environment it created.
IMLS Funds: $7,094

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 Washington's 5-year plan for 2013-2017 (PDF, 293KB). View all states' plans.


Five-Year Plan Highlights

Lifelong Learning


  • Offer informational, educational, and recreational programs and services for the benefits of all Washingtonians in their interest in lifelong learning, improving their own literacy or working with their young children to help them build early literacy skills.
  • Washingtonians will know how to access the information they need from their libraries in electronic and traditional formats.

Information Access

Access to E-Resources

  • Invest in programs that increase the capacity of local libraries to provide access to digital content and leverage other sources of funding to make digital resources more widely available and easily accessible.


  • Help local libraries preserve and provide access to unique local and state materials, perhaps working through Washington Rural Heritage.

Economic and Employment Development

Job Seekers

  • Offer informational and educational programs and services for the benefits of all Washingtonians in their interest in finding information on workforce opportunities.

Institutional Capacity

Continuing Education

  • Seed short-term projects that address new needs through innovation.
  • Provide training and other resources to enhance the ability of the library staff to meet the needs of their communities. Specific efforts will focus on technology, library governance and practice, youth services and early learning, digital online services, and consulting with staff of small, rural and American Indian libraries.
  • Encourage sharing best practices within the library community statewide.


  • Convene and promote collaborations between and among all types of libraries and governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit groups to share their expertise and design projects and programs that serve community needs and interests.


  • Provide high-speed, reliable connectivity and services that depend on such connectivity—broadband infrastructure and the K-20 Network Project, the support of E-Rate filing, and working with libraries and their community partners.

Civic Engagement


  • Support the work of the library community in developing programs that increase public and civic engagement among the people of Washington, perhaps through author talks, book clubs, and community reads or discussion groups.

Human Services

Special Services for Special Needs

  • Deliver library materials and service to special populations, including to the blind and physically handicapped through the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, and those who are incarcerated through the Department of Corrections.

Health and Social Services Information

  • Offer informational and educational programs and services for the benefits of all Washingtonians in their interest in finding information about health and social services, which we can deliver through the work of the Department of Social and Health Services branch libraries.


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 Washington's 5-year evaluation for 2008-2012 (PDF, 1,359KB). 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 Washington's profile from the most recent PLS publication (PDF, 374KB).