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Contact Name: 
Ms. Cindy Aden
Contact Title: 
State Librarian
State Library Address: 
Washington State Library
6880 Capitol Boulevard P.O. Box 42460
98504-2460 Olympia , WA
+1 360 704 5276
+1 360 586 7575
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.


Cindy Aden, State Librarian, Washington State Library

“The Washington State Library believes in the power of libraries to build prosperous and informed communities. We strive to provide services to those who cannot read standard print and serve those populations who typically are not well served to find the information, resources and services they need to enjoy a higher quality of life. We partner with others to increase the chances that those who are incarcerated and hospitalized have access to the education and literacy activities for successful recovery and re-entry to society. We support the Washington library community to have the resources and skills to more effectively serve their communities, including working with Workforce Development Councils to identify libraries as key resources for job training and searching. It is our desire that Washingtonians have access to the stories of their communities and state in order to celebrate our common heritage. Through these actions we support the state’s economic growth and the education and lifelong learning of its residents.”

-- Cindy Aden, State Librarian, Washington State Library

Project Examples

Microsoft IT Academy Open Lab
Pierce County Library supported Open Lab, a program that prepares transitioning soldiers for success in civilian life by improving their technology skills and helping them find new careers in a digital world. Open Lab’s services include technology training, network and database classes, extensive outreach to military organizations in the community, and free Microsoft Technology Associate Certification. Soldiers with MTA certification are eligible for further training and opportunities to intern with Microsoft. More than 1,400 people enrolled in the program, and more than 500 earned the certification. Open Lab is open 16 hours per week at RP/6, a community service organization for veterans, military service members, and their families. 
IMLS Funds: $7,500

Connecting the DOTS
Washington State Library sponsored training in Supercharged Storytime techniques. These techniques were the result of a two-year study done in Project VIEWS2, which linked observed behaviors taking place during library story times to the Washington State Early Learning and Development Benchmarks. Libraries could now relate their story time programs directly to state educational standards. Saroj Ghoting and local Washington librarians who took part in the Project VIEWS 2 research study were workshop presenters. Attendees learned how to use Supercharged Storytime techniques improve reading readiness for children in various age groups. Attendees also learned about Storytime Underground and Guerrilla Story times as resources with information on new ideas, advice on planning story time programs, etc. Training workshops were held in eight locations around Washington: Tumwater, Camas, Anacortes, Silverdale, Richland, Sunnyside, Spokane, and Pullman. 
IMLS Funds: $138,312

WA Rural Heritage
Washington Rural Heritage (WRH) is a collaborative digitization program serving public libraries, tribal libraries, and partnering cultural heritage organizations. The State Library trained 18 individuals and provided project management and planning for the program. The State Library also provided digital preservation services, designed and maintained project websites and provided all digital repository services. Program staff also helped raise awareness of WRH by representing the program at regional conferences and doing promotional outreach.  The collections digitized were from:  Asotin County Library, in partnership with the Asotin County Museum; Ellensburg Public Library, in partnership with the City of Ellensburg Arts Commission; La Conner Regional Library, in partnership with the Museum of Northwest Art, and Western Washington University; Port Angeles Public Library, North Olympic Library System, in partnership with the Clallam County Genealogical Society; Kettle Falls Public Library, Libraries of Stevens County; and Whitman County Library, in partnership with the Staley Museum, the Colfax Fire Department, and the Town of Farmington.
IMLS Funds: $106,423

Review recent Grants to States projects from this state library in the State Program Report database.

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

View the IMLS funding by state report - Washington (PDF 1.04 MB) with additional information about all IMLS funding for this state (FY 2011 – FY 2016).

Five-Year Plan Highlights

Goal 1: Contribute to the state’s economic prosperity and cultural richness by supporting relevant and high-quality education, literacy and reading, and life-long learning.

  • Projects Include:
    • Collaborate with local libraries, academic institutions, and workforce development entities to bring resources to this service area.
    • Support libraries' ability to increase digital literacy in their communities through workshops, sub-grants, and exposure to new technology devices.
    • The Center for the Book program: Promote literacy and a love of books by shining a spotlight on the contribution of reading and libraries in strengthening communities.
    • The Letters About Literature program: A reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12.

Goal 2: Connect Washingtonians to their history, employing digital initiatives, and other preservation strategies to tell the stories of local communities and to celebrate our common heritage.

  • Projects include:
    • The Washington Rural Heritage (WRH) project: A collaborative digitization program serving public libraries, tribal libraries, and partnering cultural heritage organizations.
    • Digitize papers across five main geographic regions and strive to add non-English language papers and news from the diverse cultures.
    • DPLA support services: Provide training, consulting, and grants to libraries seeking to develop digital collections and content.

Goal 3: Expand the reach and effectiveness of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) with innovative outreach initiatives to increase overall user population, establish and strengthen borrower relationships, and promote high quality, accessible library and information resources.

  • Projects include:
    • The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library: Raise awareness of library services offered, increase user base through outreach to veterans, youth, non-native English speakers, and older adults who are not yet library patrons, and continue to connect residents with new, accessible reading materials in the format they need, when they need it.

Goal 4: Expand and enhance the provision of direct library and information services to incarcerated and hospitalized populations in support of education, literacy, recovery, recreation, and re-entry.

  • Projects include:
    • Institutional Libraries: Work with the Department of Corrections and other partners to identify re-entry resources and training, make those available as part of a coordinated program to support inmates preparing for re-entry. One resource provided will be a library card, from the local public library in the inmate’s destination release city.

Goal 5: Elevate the quality of library service and caliber of library staff through statewide projects, facilitation, consulting, grants, training, and modeling best practices to build capacity in libraries statewide.

  • Projects include:
    • Facilitate the development of curriculum and training programs for teacher-librarians and other K-12 library staff.
    • Facilitate learning, interaction, and sharing of best practices for library staff in early learning and youth services.
    • Professional development grants: Allow local libraries the opportunity to send their staff to training events and to bring in trainers to enhance the skills of library staff.
    • Grants to Libraries: Fund development of new or enhanced library programs and services.
    • The Statewide Database Licensing project: Leverage the combined purchasing power of the state's nonprofit public, tribal, academic, K12, research, and hospital libraries to save money.
    • Off the Page: Downloadable Audiobooks and eBooks: Help libraries offer eBooks and downloadable audiobooks to their patrons.
    • The Ask-WA program: Provide a range of online reference services for Washington residents by creating a network of collaboration and support among libraries through the state.
    • Share WSL staff expertise with libraries throughout the state to reduce local expenses and increase staff capacity.
    • Provide all users with access to information through reliable high speed Internet connectivity and infrastructure.
    • Librarians Supporting Student Success: Provide library faculty in Community and Technical Colleges (CTC) training on teaching practices and assessment.

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. Explore state profiles representing more than 9,000 public library systems and over 17,000 public library outlets.

Content last reviewed on
January 23, 2019