Statewide Projects and Initiatives

News and Information

Stay on top of important news, grants, training opportunities, and other library events by subscribing to email lists available at the Washington State Library. Lists include WSL Updates, a weekly electronic digest of library news and opportunities and WSL Presents: News from Washington Libraries, a summary of stories about Washington State libraries, as well as many project-specific lists.


Centrally coordinated by the Washington State Library, Ask-WA is a cooperative of more than 50 libraries throughout Washington State providing online reference services via chat, e-mail, and instant message technologies. Ask-WA ties into a global network, allowing participating libraries to provide 24/7 reference service.

Downloadable Audiobooks and eBooks for Washington

This project currently provides many of the state's public libraries with access to eBooks and eAudiobooks through a contract with OverDrive. The Washington Digital Library Consortium comprises 45 of the state's mostly smaller and mid-sized libraries, which together provide the Washington Anytime Library to their patrons.

Historical Newspapers in Washington

Historical newspapers are primary research tools for students, teachers, historians, and genealogists. Newspapers document the daily life of communities in a way no history book can. The Washington State Library maintains an extensive collection of Washington newspapers in print and on microfilm.

K–20 Network Connectivity

Washington State has a high-speed, low-cost broadband network available for educational institutions and public libraries. The State Library provides technical consulting, site readiness visits, and set-up assistance for libraries wishing to join the network. Seventeen library systems are currently connected.

Living Well Resource Guide

The Living Well Resource Guide compiles useful resources for Washington library users and staff. The guide includes resources to help users find jobs, stay healthy, manage their finances, and track down federal and state aid programs.


The Washington State Library, in cooperation with NewsBank, offers the Access World News Research Collection, comprising more than 11,000 news sources from around the world, including 137 from Washington. Access is available to non-profit public, academic, CTC (Community & Technical College), and public school libraries from Sept. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2019 at no cost, subsidized with LSTA funds.

Primarily Washington

Primarily Washington is an online education portal designed to bring lesson plans together with the primary sources contained in the collections of Washington State Library, Washington State Archives and Legacy Washington. Lesson plans and exhibits will be added on a continual basis.

Publications and Online Resources

Legislative and Congressional District Fact Sheets, the Public Library Trustee Wiki, Washington Public Library Statistics, and the Online Directory of Washington Libraries are just some of the resources created and maintained by the Washington State Library.

Statewide Database Licensing

Washington libraries receive a suite of Gale Cengage database products, providing online access to more than 6,000 full-text journals and other sources (with coverage from the 1970s forward). Federal LSTA funding subsidizes a significant portion of the cost, with libraries providing the rest. Project staff also coordinate other group purchasing efforts.

Teacher-Librarian Core Cadre (TLC3)

TLC3 provides training for teacher-librarians as well as resources and professional development tools for educators, schools administrators, public librarians, and communities engaged with implementation of statewide education standards. Partners include the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the School Division of the Washington Library Association.

Virtual Reality (VR) in Libraries

A partnership has been created between the Washington State Library, the University of Washington’s Information School and Oculus VR. Oculus has donated 50 of its virtual reality (VR) headsets to the State Library, which is installing them in a select number of library districts around Washington. The UW iSchool, which examines the relationships among people, information and technology, will study the usage trends for the Oculus VR headsets.

Washington Bibliographies

The State Library produces bibliographies of items in its collection. The bibliographies include information about Western Americana and Pacific Northwest Research; First Peoples of Washington State; Immigrant Cultures of Washington; and many more.

Washington Center for the Book

A partnership of the Washington State Library and the Seattle Public Library, the Center’s mission is to promote literacy and a love of books, reading, and libraries and to shine a spotlight on the contribution of reading and libraries in strengthening communities and in fostering civic engagement. This mission is accomplished through a variety of programs, the Letters About Literature contest, the Washington State Book Awards, Community Reads and a variety of new and developing programs.

Washington Digital Newspapers (WDN)

The Washington State Library is working with local communities and publishers to preserve and provide online access to socially and historically significant newspapers in our state. Through collaboration with the National Digital Newspaper Program and community projects we have digitized over 400,000 pages of newspapers, published between 1860 through 2010, and will continue to grow with new titles and projects in the coming year.

Washington History Online

Classics in Washington History offers searchable, full-text versions of significant biographies and histories covering early explorations, pioneer life, and local history. The Historical Maps page features online maps drawn from state and territorial government records, historic books, federal documents, and the Northwest collection.

Washington Rural Heritage

This program supports public and tribal libraries as well as partnering museums and historical societies in digitizing their archival collections. The State Library provides the technical infrastructure to make these collections available online and provides participants with training in various aspects of digitization and digital preservation. A competitive grant program is aimed at supporting public, tribal, and academic libraries in undertaking a variety of digital initiatives.

Washington State Special Collections

Special Collections collect and preserve rare and archival materials that enrich research in the history and culture of the Pacific Northwest, comprising the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho in their entirety; the province of British Columbia; and western portions of the State of Montana. Alaska and Yukon Territory materials are also acquired selectively when they relate to the Pacific Northwest region. These non-circulating collections are comprised of historic and unique books, pamphlets, maps and manuscripts that are made available for research in our reading room.


Washington WebJunction is an online community where library staff attend informational webinars, explore topics and take online courses. Find information on technical issues, library policy making, professional education, and more. Registration is free and allows access to an array of self-paced e-learning opportunities, including technology and library related courses.

Workforce Development

Workforce Development supports libraries in Washington State to become better integrated into their local workforce development systems, many as certified WorkSource Connection sites, and be recognized for the role they play in supporting job seekers, business, industry, and thriving economies. Workforce Development also leverages the tools already in the library such as public computer access, digital literacy, and other training. Through partnership with WSL, libraries and colleges can provide free vouchers for  industry-specific certifications.  Read more about how to access these resources here.

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