The Washington State Library’s Library Now Mobile App, allows patrons of 42 Washington libraries to access their library from anywhere with their smartphones or tablets. The app, which became available September of 2013, has already received 5,543 unique visitors.
The State of Washington Library Now app was made possible thanks to contributions from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and funding from the Library Services and Technology Act. And now, a bit of background on these two funding resources.
Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation administers Paul Allen’s philanthropic contributions in the fields of science & technology, arts & culture, community development & social change as well as other causes. Paul Allen is best known as one of the co-founders of Microsoft.
Since 1990, the Allen Family Foundation has awarded $267.4 million to projects in the State of Washington alone. Of the total $454 million in grants awarded, $30.4 million have been provided to fund libraries.
Not only did the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation help fund the State of Washington Library Now App, but it also provided funds to several other Washington libraries. In 2012, the City of Burlington Library received a grant to help expand their teen programming. Another member of the Washington Library Now App, the Walla Walla Public Library, received funds to help build a technology lab for teens. Lopez Island Library used their funds to support a student-written history of Lopez book.
Library Services and Technology Act
The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is a source of funding, exclusively for libraries, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The funds are provided to the State-which provides a matching amount-and then sub-divides the funds to provide assistance to public, academic, special and research libraries.
The funds from the Library Services and Technology Act were used to cover the cost of developing the Library Now App for the participating libraries while the funds received from the Paul Allen Family Foundation are being used to pay for both the subscription costs, as well as a portion of the marketing costs.