Renew Washington

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Renew Washington Final Report now available

You may visit our Evaluations page to review the reports, or access them here:

With the declining economy, libraries faced increased use by the public—especially by those who are out of work and struggling to find employment. To address this issue, the Washington State Library, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, developed a special project called Renew Washington.

Pierce County Renew Washington Project

Pierce County Library System's Renew Washington Project in action

In the major component of the project, grants were awarded to help public libraries initiate new services, enhance existing services, conduct outreach and partnership efforts, or complete other activities that are identified as important to the library in addressing the needs of people searching for employment-related information, resources, and services.

The libraries who received grants used the funds to help Washington residents in a variety of activities Adobe Reader - Click to Download, including:

  • Learning basic computer skills
  • Finding and using job and career resources
  • Locating job opportunities and completing online applications
  • Retooling for new careers by gaining new skills and locating education opportunities
  • Preparing resumes and improving interviewing skills
  • Starting or growing small businesses
  • Surviving with less in a difficult economy

As a result, libraries received significant news coverage and articles about their projects. A slideshow covering all the Renew Washington projects, as well as photographs, video clips, podcasts, and other materials developed by libraries are available for viewing on our Promotional Materials page. For background information, Studies and Reports show the economic value, use, and perceptions of libraries. Final reports by the libraries and evaluations of the project are available.

Timberland Renew Washington

Timberland Regional Library System's "Out of Work" poster, advertising resources available through the Renew Washington Project

A total of $918,380 was awarded to 20 public libraries and 4 academic libraries in several special grant cycles called the Renew Washington project. The Gates Foundation provided approximately $515,000. The rest of the funds were provided by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Projects run through September 2011.

With funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, many participating public libraries received assistance in communicating the importance of their library to decision-makers and worked together in a peer -learning environment to share and learn from each other.

In an ongoing effort to assist libraries and the public in the tough economy, the Washington State Library researched and gathered together a list of resources, training, and Web sites on job hunting, resume writing, computer instruction, and other helpful economic Web sites at the Hard Times Resource Portal.

Feedback We encourage your feedback. If you have comments or suggestions, please use our feedback form.

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