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Contact Name: 
Ms. Irene Padilla
Contact Title: 
State Librarian
State Library Address: 
Maryland State Library
22 S. Calhoun Street
Baltimore, MD 21223
+1 667 219 4801
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.


Irene Padilla

“Partnerships have proved valuable to our libraries’ ability to offer basic and enrichment services, and we’ll continue outreach efforts to find partner expertise that will help us fulfill our goals. With our libraries as community anchors, we’ll emphasize programs related to civic engagement.”

--  Irene Padilla, State Librarian, Maryland 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. For more information, see the Grants to States program overview.

Project Examples

Statewide Statistics and Data Innovation
Prince George’s County Memorial Library System launched a statewide data analytics project that included licensed software and training for Maryland’s library systems. The project created customized reports for areas such as call number circulation statistics, library-branch service area mapping, and fiscal year transactions. By tracking various data elements through time, participating libraries were able to pinpoint local and regional trends that could help them make staffing, building, purchasing, and other major decisions. Related projects included liaison support from the state library, the formation of a statewide statistics working group, refinement of the Maryland Annual Public Library Survey, and support for the data analytics software. To support this work, Maryland’s Statistics and Data Coordinator served as the data liaison for the state’s public libraries, answered questions about library data and statistics, and organized several training opportunities.
MLS Funds: $355,331

Maryland AskUsNow!
Maryland AskUsNow! is a 24/7 statewide interactive information service that uses the expertise of librarians to provide Maryland residents and students with answers to questions, research guidance, and help navigating the Internet. Administered by Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, the service exceeded its annual target by answering more than 41,000 questions. During the grant period, the library partners engaged with schools and institutions to collect and report data under a statistical sampling model.  This model categorized the different types of chat questions by the level of difficulty. Levels 1 and 2 were directional/circulation and policy questions, while Levels 3 and 4 were student assignment/research questions. The grant period totals indicated that AskUsNow! chat librarians answered Level 3 and 4 research questions 60 percent of the time. When surveyed, 96 percent of customers were “very likely” or “may” use the service again.
IMLS Funds: $193,500

Accessible Technologies in Public Libraries
Grant funds helped provide assistive technology to Maryland residents and expand virtual reality programs for users of all ages. Led by Maryland's Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, more than 100 public library branches across the state received assistive technology workstations for residents protected by the American Disabilities Act (ADA). The workstations featured electric height-adjustable tables with computers, 27-inch monitors, special keyboards, and software for screen reading, screen enlarging, and capabilities to read aloud any print text. The Virtual Reality (VR) Roadshow was launched to provide training to library staff about setting it up VR equipment and guiding the public through various user experiences.
IMLS Funds: $907,497

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

View the IMLS funding by state report - Maryland (PDF) with additional information about all IMLS funding for this state (FY 2018 – FY 2022).

Five-Year Plan Highlights

Goal 1: The Maryland State Library will strengthen libraries’ institutional capacity through collaborative continuing education and staff development opportunities that will create a strong and innovative library workforce.

  • Projects include:
    • Training and staff development through partnerships and grants
    • Statewide digital platform to improve access to learning
    • Expansion of statewide staff development to academic and school libraries
    • Business model for innovation to support projects and share learning
    • Support for statewide communities of practice
    • Library Associate Training Institute
    • Learning opportunities for leadership and innovation
    • Grants for strategic planning initiatives
    • Access to information resources through the Maryland Library Consortium
    • Updated library websites for improved accessibility
    • Grants for data tools and resources
    • Grants for community needs assessment, asset mapping, and outcomes measurement

Goal 2: The Maryland State Library will help libraries improve access to information for their users.

  • Projects include: 
    • Virtual reference systems, including AskUsNow and InfoEyes
    • Adaptive and assistive technologies
    • Digital Maryland collections and metadata standards
    • Increased access for the digitally disadvantaged
    • Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library
    • Maryland Accessible Textbook program
    • Technologies for blind, visually impaired, physically disabled and reading disabled Maryland residents

Goal 3: The Maryland State Library will help libraries develop lifelong learning opportunities in order to improve users’ formal education and general knowledge and skills.

  • Projects include:
    • Early learning and family engagement for information literacy
    • Reading incentive programs for middle schoolers
    • Technology Education and STEM instructional programming
    • Collaborative Summer Library Program (summer reading)
    • Information literacy initiatives
    • Special accessible programming to promote arts and information literacy
    • One Maryland One Book partnership
    • Youth programming within correction centers that encourage family literacy

Goal 4: The Maryland State Library will help libraries foster economic and employment development opportunities in order to facilitate job growth in Maryland.

  • Projects include:
    • Programming within correction centers that encourages workforce skill development
    • Grants for workforce resources in libraries
    • Community of practice for employment resource centers

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
March 1, 2018