Tacoma Public Library awarded large grant for community archiving project

TACOMA, WASH.—Tacoma Public Library (TPL) has received a grant award for nearly $250K from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent federal government agency, for a wide-ranging, two-year community archiving project that will bring community members and organizations together in a fully participatory process to broaden representation in TPL’s Northwest Room’s collection.  

The award is the largest TPL has received to date.   

“We’ve been trying to get this project funded since 2018 and have been on the edge of our seats every time we submit the grant application. I’m thrilled at this truly historic moment for Tacoma Public Library, and for the opportunities this important initiative will bring to our community for years to come,” Library Director Kate Larsen said in a statement.   

“We hope set a standard nationally for other libraries with local history collections. Investment in collecting genuinely representative histories benefits everyone,” Larsen continued. 

The project will create a national model for institutions in small- and mid-sized urban areas seeking to build collaborative partnerships with diverse groups to produce more equitable archives.   

For at least five decades, scholars and archivists have illuminated a significant problem with the American historical record: missing from it are the experiences of marginalized and underrepresented communities. There remains an urgent need to collect the histories of communities that are still missing from archives, to co-design archives to share these stories, and to reshape the historical record.  

TPL staff applied for the grant, in partnership with the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington’s Information School, earlier this year and received official notification of the $247,545.00 funding award just this month. The funding is part of a total investment by the IMLS of $22.7 million for library initiatives across the country.  

The IMLS received 172 applications requesting $47,707,123. Of these, just 39 projects, including Tacoma Public Library’s, were funded (totaling $12,245,784).   


About Tacoma Public Library:  

Tacoma Public Library's mission is to empower its community by bringing people together to discover, connect, create, learn, and thrive. Learn more at tacomalibrary.org 

Media Contact: Mariesa Bus, Public Information Officer | mbus@tacomalibrary.org | 253.280.2882