WLA and EveryLibrary Fight for $3.2 Million in Washington State IMLS Funds

Seattle, WA, April 25, 2017 – Cuts proposed in President Trump’s “skinny budget” would have devastating effects on libraries in Washington State, according to state library officials and analysts.


Washington state libraries would lose $3.2 million in library funding

Take action now at saveWAimls.org

Seattle, WA, April 25, 2017 – Cuts proposed in President Trump’s “skinny budget” would have devastating effects on libraries in Washington State, according to state library officials and analysts.  The proposed budget, unveiled by the Trump administration in March, would eliminate funding for the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides funding to state libraries.  Washington currently receives $3.2 million in funding per year from IMLS, which is used to support:

  • The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library
  • Nine prison libraries that help educate inmates and reduce recidivism  
  • Statewide eBook platform, which provides access to free eBooks through libraries in every part of the state
  • Statewide “Ask Washington,” a 24/7 homework and research help through community college libraries and public libraries
  • Digital literacy training for teacher-librarians, summer reading programs, library websites, interlibrary loan system support, and librarian professional development and training. 

Under the proposed federal budget cuts, Washington, along with other states, would lose funding that is used for foundational library services.

Washington State Librarian Cindy Aden says, "If we lose this funding, we will lose almost half our state library budget.  It will result in severe cutbacks in service.  Programs that will be impacted include our nine prison libraries, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library, and state library staff and programs that serve libraries all over the state. We will have to shutter many of our statewide services, and those will be very hard choices."

Examples of programs supported in Washington state by IMLS funding include:

  • Kitsap Regional Library used IMLS funding to support BiblioTEC, a highly successful, collaborative, life-changing program of STEM education for youth.
  • The Pierce County Rural Library District developed an Interactive Discovery Platform (IDP) to engage learners in the use of technology to facilitate discovery.
  • Funding was used by University of Washington for ConnectedLib, a program to support public librarians serving teens and young adults who benefit from librarians’ transformed practices.
  • The Nisqually Tribe used funding to bring in a StoryCorps recording studio to record the stories of tribal members that will be preserved for future generations.

Underscoring the value of libraries, Washington Library Association President Brianna Hoffman says, “The Washington State Library provides vital resources with their smart use of IMLS funding. Our State Library has a unique role helping the blind and visually impaired, and people who are hospitalized, incarcerated, or in other at risk situations. They have recently restarted legislative reference service in Olympia to help our state make better decisions. Cutting IMLS would set our state back in so many crucial ways.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), established in 1996, is the only federal agency that funds libraries nationwide.  The agency’s work benefits libraries of all types: public, research, academic and tribal; and museums of all disciplines: art, history, botanic gardens, aquariums, science and technology centers, children’s museums and zoos. The IMLS is the main federal source for innovative library programs that support early literacy, people trying to find work, and better community outcomes through libraries.

Take action now at saveWAimls.org

About Washington Library Association
The Washington Library Association is the state’s oldest and largest organization for librarians, trustees, and citizen-advocates representing public, school, special and academic libraries in every community. With a membership of 1504 individuals and 49 institutions, WLA provides the leadership to develop, improve, and promote library services to all Washington residents. WLA is a chapter of the American Library Association.

About EveryLibrary
EveryLibrary, registered in Illinois, is the first and only national organization dedicated exclusively to promoting political action at a local level to create, renew, and protect public funding for libraries of all types. This non-partisan, pro-library organization promotes sustaining libraries as they evolve and grow in the 21st century. EveryLibrary is a coalition partner with other organizations, associations, and non-profits that seek to support libraries through public awareness and advocacy.


Contact: Kate Laughlin
Washington Library Association
[email protected]

Contact: John Chrastka
[email protected]