Professional Development Grants

Washington State Library (WSL) funds Professional Development or PD Grants to help fund professional training for library staff. Organizations can apply for awards to send library staff to conferences, workshops or seminars, or they may bring professional training into their own library. These awards use federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Sciences and Technology Act (LSTA).


Either a library or their parent institution, depending on their structure, has the authority to apply for these grants and receive reimbursements. Qualifying libraries include public libraries, schools and their school libraries, academic institutions and their libraries, Tribal libraries, and non-profit institutions and their libraries. If the library is not fiscally independent, the application must come from the library’s parent entity. Libraries can apply for two types of PD grants:

In either case, only libraries and library staff are eligible to use the grants. If branches of a library or library system receive an award, they are considered part of a single library for award limits. Awards can cover up to 75% of allowable expenses, including registration, lodging and travel expenses. Public libraries serving a population of less than 5,000 are eligible for a waiver of the required 25% match.

You must send both an electronic and a paper copy of your application. WSL will accept applications until funds are exhausted.

Managing your award

The applicant organization claims reimbursement from WSL. All expenses must be allowable and documented with receipts. Reimbursements are made directly to the organization. There are three required parts

  1. The WSL PD Reimbursement claim form. WSL mails this to the Contracting Authority with award notification.
  2. Each attendee completes a narrative evaluation using a Survey Monkey questionnaire.
  3. Each attendee sends a visual report suitable for sharing with other library staff throughout the state. This should be a short, original item. Acceptable presentation styles include Prezi, PowerPoint, infographics, videos, etc. that WSL can post online.

The Grant Manager must approve all reports and visual projects before reimbursement can be processed.

Criteria and Help for Visual Presentation

The visual presentation is to share what you learn at professional development events. The presentation should articulate why you attended the event, what you learned, and how it will benefit your end users.

  • Your format choice is wide open. We have a set of links to free online resources Adobe Reader - Click to Download that might be helpful and even inspirational.
  • We don’t really want an overview or summary of the whole event. We’d rather see what excited you, a specific trick you learned, how you’re changing up your library services, why it will be better for your patrons. We would love to hear about your ah-hah! moment, how you plan to use the cool new technique you learned, or where you think your new knowledge will take you and your patrons next.
  • If you got an award for a preconference, the presentation must be about that.
  • Pics/graphics: Photos are great, but not necessary. There is no requirement for images of the actual training event. Be creative. Just be sure to respect copyright. It could end up on the internet.
  • And yes, each attendee must create a separate visual presentation. Short and sweet is usually a winner.

An example video and instructional handout Adobe Reader - Click to Download are available.

Is it Protected by Copyright?—American Library Association (ALA)

Copyright and Cultural Institutions Adobe Reader - Click to Download—Cornell University

Free online tools to help create your presentation Adobe Reader - Click to Download

Examples visual reports from attendees

More information on allowable expenses and required reimbursement documentation


Mileage documentation

  • Mileage is reimbursed only if a personal vehicle is used.
  • Mileage is reimbursed at the rate allowable by Washington State, currently $0.54/mile.
  • Sign the statement on the claim form indicating you drove your personal vehicle.
  • Include a printed, mapped route from your starting and ending locations (from MapQuest, Yahoo Maps, Streets & Trips, etc.) with the number of miles driven indicated.
  • Indicate the total number of miles driven and complete the calculation.

For rental cars, send receipts from your rental car company that show the number of days for the rental and final amount paid, plus fuel receipts. For motor pool vehicle, please provide documentation for the cost incurred for your use of the motor pool vehicle.

Plane/train/bus/ferry: Receipt from travel provider (airline, travel agent, etc.) indicating total amount paid and reflecting a zero balance. If receipt does not reflect zero balance, additional documentation to prove payment has been made will be necessary (copy of a credit card or bank statement—please highlight the appropriate line and white out your account number). This document should include your itinerary.

Parking, taxis, vans, shuttles, etc: Receipt from travel provider. For hotel parking, itemized hotel receipt is sufficient. Awardees are expected to use the most economical option available for parking.

Meals are not reimbursable.


You must live more than 50 miles from the event to qualify for lodging reimbursement.

Provide itemized receipt from hotel indicating zero balance. If receipt does not reflect zero balance, proof of payment is also required (copy of a credit card or bank statement—please highlight the appropriate line and cross out your account number).

Items not allowable for reimbursement include in-room movies/games, mini-bar items, room service, safe, etc. Parking should be reported under Travel, even if it appears on the lodging receipt.

Lodging rates (before taxes) cannot exceed: a) the federal per diem rates for the event location; or b) the conference rate (maximum of 25% over per diem rates) (10.30.30.a). When making reservations, request either the government rate or the conference rate. Identify which rate you paid on the claim form.

If you shared a room with other attendees, state so and then include only your share of the costs. If you shared a room with a non-attendee such as a family member, claim only what it would have cost if you were by yourself.

Meals are not reimbursable.

Registration fees

Itemized registration receipt or registration form and proof of payment are required.

LSTA funds cannot be used to pay for meals or social activities not included in the basic registration price. Nor can LSTA funds be used for professional membership dues, or toward any additional fees incurred in the pursuit of a degree or certificate (clock hours or credits).

Required workbooks or textbooks for training: Provide itemized receipt with proof of payment.

Substitute librarians for schools

Provide proof of payment for a substitute (show amount paid, date paid, warrant # or if by electronic transfer). A hardship waiver is required upon application for substitute time to be reimbursed.

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Funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).