State Libraries and AI Technology

A CIRCL Working Group in Partnership with Gigabit Libraries Network

This prospectus calls for the creation of a limited term working group of state libraries and relevant stakeholders to explore the varied roles state libraries in the use of AI and in their support of efforts around workforce development in AI. Rather than a one-time event, the working group will be a facilitated process with CIRCL gathering data, building an environmental scan, and interviewing library staff to provide a focused explorations of the topic with participating state librarians.

About the Project

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already profoundly changed the way people find information, communicate, produce media, and learn about the world. AI will continue to change work; from automation in manufacturing, to how energy is distributed across a smart grid, to the use of generative AI to produce marketing, the workforce of our states will change.

Libraries can be central in how a state adapts to this new technological landscape:

  • Public libraries from large urban centers to the smallest rural communities can help train workers, support small businesses in linking to vital resources, and provide necessary broad band connectivity to remote workers. Public libraries can be central to advocating for ethical AI and sensitize citizens to the dangers of corrosive AI – the use of deep fakes and AI to undermine trust in democratic institutions.
  • Academic libraries are already supporting a raft of new degrees in AI and machine learning at public universities. These university faculties support research that is shaping AI tools and ethical understanding of the technology. Community college libraries are supporting workforce development through accessible entry points to higher education and the basic technology skills needed to work in AI-enhanced industries from agriculture, to medicine, to energy.
  • School libraries are demonstrated effective teaching centers that prepare the children of a state to function in a future workforce, governance, and in life through information and media literacy instruction.
  • Medical and special libraries already support medical research into the adoption of AI diagnostics, pharmaceutical development, and a changing legal framework for AI generated work.

State libraries have a vested interest in engaging AI through common functions such as:

  • Archives and History: the preserved the archival record of a state is a treasure trove of data for AI construction (training). AI will also be instrumental in facilitating scholarly and public research with the expanding digital corpus.
  • Libraries and Learning: AI is not only an emerging important topic for librarians to know, but to share with their service communities. Furthermore, AI promises to disrupt the learning process itself. AI enhanced tutors, responsive learning management systems, and AI writing and image synthesis tools will change how state libraries approach learning.
  • Access to Public Records: for those states charged with a responsibility for helping public agencies maintain their public records (State and Local Records Management), AI expertise is vital. How will a state’s records be impacted by AI analysis? Is there policy needed around generative AI in the production of laws, policies, and mandated reporting?
  • Reading Services: can AI systems (text to speech, natural language processing, automatic caption generation, image to text descriptions) be used to support the reading needs of thousands of citizens with disabilities preventing them from reading a standard book (Talking Book Program) and access to public records?

The work group will seek to go beyond these broad functions to match potentials and perils of AI to specific state contexts.

Participating Members

The following institutions have made initial pledges of support for the working group. The prospectus calls for at least 10 participating members. More will be added as they make initial commitments. If you are interested in joining please contact: R. David Lankes


Texas State Libraries and Archive Commission

Georgia Public Library Service

State Library of Iowa

New Jersey State Library

Colorado State Library

Washington State Library

Hawaii State Public Library System

Delaware Division of Libraries

New York State Library

State Library of North Carolina

Arizona State Library

Tennessee State Library and Archives

Library of Michigan

State Library of Ohio