Nearly $645,000 has been awarded to local governments in Washington state to help protect and preserve public records as part of the Local Records Grant Program administered by the Washington State Archives, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

Established in 2017, the program funds efforts related to three types of projects:

Digital Imaging — These grants support efforts to digitize records so that an agency can provide more timely responses to frequently requested public records, as well as better manage public records which have longer minimum retention periods. 

File Room Organization — These grants support the organization of paper records, as well as the transference of records that have met their minimum retention periods. Funds help to purchase metal shelving, file cabinets, and Washington State Archives boxes, as well as hire temporary or part-time staff, so that agencies can provide more timely responses to public records requests, and help protect and retain public records from damage caused by disorganization or poor storage conditions.

Technology Tools — These grants support the purchase and maintenance of hardware and software that provide more timely responses to public records requests; capture, manage, and retain public records for their minimum retention periods; track public records requests; and capture and manage social media, text messages, and websites.

In the South Sound, Lewis County Public Utility District received a digital imaging grant; Grays Harbor County, Orting School District, and Tacoma Power received file room organization grants; and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department received a technology tools grant.

“These grants are vital to small government entities that rely on them to assist with their records storage,” said State Archivist Steve Excell. “Without this program, many of these historical records would be withering away in a closet in a forgotten back room. Thankfully, this year the Legislature extended the Local Records Grant Program so cities and counties can continue receiving state assistance managing their records.”

So far, more than $2.4 million has been awarded to local governments through the program.

More information about the Washington State Archives’ Local Records Grant Program is available online here.