Embryonic stem cell (ESC) chromatin is characterized by a unique set of histone modifications, including enrichment for H3 lysine 9 acetylation (H3K9ac). Recent studies suggest that histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors promote pluripotency. Here, using H3K9ac ChIP followed by high throughput sequencing analyses and gene expression in E14 mouse ESCs before and after treatment with a low level of the HDAC inhibitor valproic acid, we show that H3K9ac is enriched at gene promoters and is highly correlated with gene expression and with various genomic features, including different active histone marks and pluripotency-related transcription factors. Curiously, it predicts the cellular location of gene products. Treatment of ESCs with valproic acid leads to a pervasive genomewide and time-dependent increase in H3K9ac, but this increase is selectively suppressed after 4 h in H3K4me3/H3K27me3 bivalent genes. H3K9ac increase is dependent on the promoter's chromatin state and is affected by the binding of P300, various transcription factors, and active histone marks. This study provides insights into the genomic response of ESCs to a low level of HDAC inhibitor, which leads to increased pluripotency. The results suggest that a mild (averaging less than 40%) but global change in the chromatin state is involved in increased pluripotency and that specific mechanisms operate selectively in bivalent genes to maintain constant H3K9ac levels. Our data support the notion that H3K9ac has an important role in ESC biology.