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District of Columbia

Contact Name: 
Mr. Richard Reyes-Gavilan
Contact Title: 
Executive Director
State Library Address: 
District of Columbia Public Library
901 G Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20001-4599
+1 202 727 1101
+1 202 727 1129
Contact Email Address: 

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.


“The needs and interests of our exceptionally diverse city continue to guide our agenda and outreach for new partnerships. Early and adult literacy initiatives, aiding Job Seekers, providing technology and digital access through the award-winning Digital Commons at the soon-to-be-renovated Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and funding innovative and creative projects through our sub-grant program are all top priorities.”

-- Rich Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director, District of Columbia Public Library

Project Examples

Legal Barriers Program
DC Public Library worked with Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) to offer workshops by local pro-bono attorneys and community advocates. The workshops covered legal issues that prevent low-wage workers, job trainees, and recent entrants to the workforce from finding meaningful employment. Workshops were held at libraries and addressed issues such as criminal record sealing and expungement, credit reporting, criminal background checks, suspended driver’s licenses, unresolved child support, wage theft and many other issues. At the end of each training session, NLSP lawyers counseled job seekers on their personal issues and either referred them to others or opened cases where applicable.  NLSP consultations also happened during a Jobseekers Clinic program series, for a total of 174 one-on-one consultations. 
IMLS Funds: $40,000

Mobile STEM Initiative
The Mobile STEM Initiative brings STEM education to new locations and supports STEM programming in neighborhood library branches and DC schools. DC Public Library purchased laptops to create 5-7 roving computer classrooms, which support and sustain STEM programming throughout the city. The new technology helps bring high speed Internet and other resources to some of the District’s most vulnerable citizens.
IMLS Funds: $99,986

Special Collections Initiatives
DC Public Library used grant funds to support its Special Collections department through digital content creation, content preservation and instruction/consultation. The project digitized archival collections, including photographs, printed materials, audiovisual materials, maps and ephemera. It also preserved collection assets by rehousing archival objects in safe, stable storage units and systems. A portion of project funds were used for an innovative program with local public school students. The program, called THATCamp, taught students to access and use digital collections as part of a defined digital humanities project.
IMLS Funds: $108,928

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

View the IMLS funding by state report - District of Columbia (PDF) with additional information about all IMLS funding for this state (FY 2011 – FY 2016).

Five-Year Plan Highlights

Goal 1: Lifelong Learning - All District residents will have the reading skills, information resources and library services they need to succeed in their personal and professional lives.

  • Projects include:
    • Adult Literacy Resource Center
    • Homework help
    • Resources for incarcerated and returning citizens
    • Summer reading
    • Early literacy
    • Family literacy
    • English as a Second Language Conversation Circles
    • Adaptive Services
    • Building and maintaining superior collections

Goal 2: Information Access - All District residents will be able to locate and access library and information services and resources that are relevant to their lives through the provision of traditional and innovative information resources.

  • Projects include:
    • Catalog/Finding Tool Enhancements
    • Special collections – digitization, preservation, and collection management
    • Resource development – online databases
    • Superior physical and digital collections

Goal 3: Institutional Capacity - All District residents will enjoy enhanced library experiences because library staff have the knowledge, skills and competencies they need to offer high quality services.

  • Projects include:
    • Development of library workforce, including leadership development
    • Digitization technology upgrades
    • Software and app development, MiFi
    • Planning and assessment efforts

Goal 4: Employment and Economic Development - All District residents will have the support they need to acquire productive and fulfilling employment.

  • Projects include:
    • Job seeker assistance
    • Training teens for library and other skilled work
    • Support for entrepreneurs
    • Business start-up assistance

Goal 5: Civic Engagement - All District residents will engage in community life to a greater extent through their participation in library programs and services.

  • Projects include:
    • Community meetings
    • Support for public programming on topics of community interest
    • Community engagement efforts such as “one book/one community”

IMLS Data Collection

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

Public Libraries Survey
The Public Libraries Survey (PLS) provides national descriptive data on the status of public libraries in the United States and its territories. Data are collected from more than 9,000 public library systems with over 17,000 public library outlets. Explore state-level profiles to find and compare totals on key data such as numbers of libraries and librarians, revenue and expenditures, and collection sizes.

Content last reviewed on
December 6, 2017