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West Virginia

Contact Name: 
Ms. Karen Goff
Contact Title: 
Director/State Librarian
State Library Address: 
West Virginia Library Commission
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305-0620
+1 304 558 2041
+1 304 558 2044
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.


Karen Goff

“We connect local libraries regionally through consortia that will continue to generate the efficient sharing of materials requested by patrons, and serve as informal conveners through which ideas related to better public service can be shared. Technological advances fuel the anticipated need for statewide staff training.”

--West Virginia Library Commission

Read the West Virginia Library Commission 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. For more information, see the Grants to States program overview.

Project Examples

Statewide Library Network
The West Virginia Library Commission’s Statewide Library Network provided Internet access, email communication and web page support for all public libraries in the state. Its Network Services group supported and upgraded the Statewide Library Network to assure that public libraries could serve as electronic gateways for all West Virginians, particularly since the public library is the only point of public access Internet in many communities. During the project period, the 13-member staff coordinated the installation of 170 computers in 62 libraries, responded to 10,898 helpdesk questions, made 1,180 site visits, and provided 1,186 virtual connection responses.
IMLS Funds: $215,425

Library Consortia Services
In recent years the West Virginia Library Commission (WVLC) encouraged libraries to form consortia with a shared integrated library system and bibliographic and patron databases, and today 87 of the 97 public library systems in the state have chosen to join a WVLC-sponsored consortium. Although the immediate need was for upgrading systems, long-term goals included enhancing resource sharing and making more information available to library users. To sustain the excellent services now provided by the consortia, WVLC provides funding for software and hardware as well as training, centralized software support services, and advice in the areas of library technology and cataloging. WVLC also advises consortium executive boards on system-related issues and trends in technology and cataloging. During the project period staff made 20 presentations to 253 attendees.
IMLS Funds: $366,831

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

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

Five-Year Plan Highlights

Lifelong Learning


  • Plan the annual statewide summer reading program in cooperation with the Children’s Services Roundtable of the West Virginia Library Association. Develop and distribute support materials, activities, and training for this program based on the national model. (West Virginia is a member of the national Collaborative Summer Reading Program.)
  • Maintain existing programs and develop and implement new programs for adult readers.
  • Offer and expand statewide reading and writing opportunities through the West Virginia Center for the Book, a program of the West Virginia Library Commission in partnership with the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Information Access

Access to E-Resources

  • Continue development and promotion of the West Virginia Library Commission’s website as a statewide portal for library catalogs, resources, education, and services that all persons in the state can use.
  • Maintain, streamline, and enrich WVInfoDepot to provide access to a selection of online databases that meet a variety of informational needs of library users.
  • Provide Internet services to public libraries through the West Virginia Statewide Library Network.

Interlibrary Loans

  • Implement the use of Resource Description and Access (RDA) cataloging practices statewide.
  • Enhance access to the collections of West Virginia libraries by exploring and, if possible, implementing an approach to establishing a statewide union catalog and interlibrary loan system to facilitate rapid access to our collections by all citizens.
  • Maintain and enhance the consortia-based integrated library systems and study the possibility of streamlining operations.


  • Continue to work with West Virginia Archives and History, a unit of the Division of Culture and History, to make available archival descriptive content via statewide catalogs and databases, and explore other means to make historical and library collections available electronically at the State Culture Center.

Economic and Employment Development

Job Seekers

  • Maintain, promote, enrich, and expand existing initiatives that support full employment and workforce development.

Business Resources

  • Develop stronger partnerships with job and career readiness and support agencies and tailor services to meet their specific needs.

Institutional Capacity

Continuing Education

  • Provide staff training in the use of RDA cataloging practices statewide.
  • Provide tech assistance and support to public libraries through telephone and e-mail help desks and regional technicians.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate a minimum of six staff training sessions annually on various topics related to acquisitions, cataloging, and collection maintenance.
  • Offer continuing education to library staff on technology-related subjects and develop the ability to disseminate the information electronically.
  • Provide at least four training sessions annually for staff in assisting library users in job and career readiness searches.
  • Partner with the Small Business Administration and other economic development entities to train library staff in what they can do to support small businesses and the business community as a whole.
  • Work cooperatively with West Virginia Archives and History to provide consultation to libraries on the care and preservation of archival and manuscript collections.
  • Develop and provide consulting services to libraries that are considering digitization projects for the preservation of library/archival holdings.
  • Maintain collaboration in shared programs with other states to train future library leaders in basic competencies and provide funding tied to work requirements for graduate studies in library and information sciences for rural and disadvantaged library directors who do not hold an advanced degree in these studies.
  • Present at least two workshops annually that increase staff skills in their work in multicultural communities, underserved urban and rural communities, and others who have difficulty using a library.
  • Develop, implement and evaluate training sessions on the library planning process and appropriate fiscal practices, and make the training available electronically on an as-needed basis.

Marketing and Market Research

  • Develop and implement training for library staff in the promotion of reading to adolescents, young adults, and senior adults.
  • Assist and train libraries to offer a variety of adult programs of interest to current library users and groups that do not traditionally use the library.
  • Undertake activities to market and promote programs and services of the Special Services Division.


  • Provide training and promote programs to generate and inspire civic engagement in the state’s public libraries. Partner with agencies and departments to develop these programs on a statewide level.


  • Advance work with the West Virginia Broadband Council to ensure that high-speed, low-cost, middle mile and last mile telecommunication services are deployed throughout the state, with public libraries continuing to serve as anchor institutions.
  • Seek partnerships with public and private agencies and organizations to broaden and expand the technological capabilities of all partners.

Human Services

Special Services for Special Needs

  • Offer continuing education on accessibility software for patrons who are blind or have low vision and/or physical mobility limitations that inhibit the direct use of the public library.

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 11, 2017