PLA unveils new leadership model, seeks applicants for next Leadership Academy

For Immediate Release
Fri, 09/28/2018


Laurence Deutsch

Manager, Communications

Public Library Association (PLA)

CHICAGO -- Today the Public Library Association (PLA) announced a new model for its Leadership Development Initiative. Developed by 21 select library leaders, the PLA Leadership Model describes the work, methods, and core values of leadership in a public library context. In alignment with the Association’s strategic goals of Transformation and Leadership, this model advances public libraries’ shift from an organizational focus to a community focus and supports leadership that reflects the needs of the community.

The new model lists library leaders’ core areas of responsibility as Learning and Literacy, and Stewardship and Integrity. Library leaders are also encouraged to practice the paired values of Respect and Civility; Inclusion and Equity; Service and Privacy; and Information and Truth, while embracing a spirit of caring, integrity, and optimism. It envisions these leaders helping individuals, neighborhoods and communities to thrive by making the library a trusted, helpful resource to all people.

“We want to cultivate public library leaders who appreciate the importance of an outward-facing perspective and possess the skills to engage and partner with external stakeholders in order to best serve their communities,” says PLA Director-at-Large Richard Kong, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library, who helped develop the new Leadership Model.

PLA Leadership Academy set for Spring 2019

Operating under this new model, PLA has opened the application period for its next Leadership Academy, taking place March 25-29 in Chicago, Ill. The PLA Leadership Academy empowers public library professionals to become innovative and successful leaders of change. During the four-day interactive event, participants will engage in thought-provoking lectures and breakout discussions on library leadership. A group of coaches consisting of experienced public library leaders and city managers will provide professional insight and support. Each participant will also propose a project to implement at their library, which exemplifies the academy curriculum. Since the program’s inception in 2013, a total of four academies have been held and 114 leaders have been trained. Click here for information on past PLA Leadership Academies.

Leadership Academy participants will engage in thought-provoking lectures and breakout discussions focused on:

  • Understanding one’s individual leadership style and values;
  • Becoming an effective change agent;
  • Managing and sustaining “big picture” library projects;
  • Developing library programs that meet community needs; and
  • Understanding how to engage with nonprofits, local governments, and business partners for collective action.

For the Spring 2019 cohort, PLA seeks applicants who have at least five years’ experience working in public libraries and can demonstrate a history of increasing responsibility in their roles. They must also be members of PLA or willing to join PLA, if their application is accepted. A full list of requirements and instructions can be found here.. The application deadline is Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. If you have any questions or comments, please contact

The PLA Leadership Academy and Leadership Model were developed in partnership with Adam Goodman, director of the Center for Leadership at Northwestern University, and with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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About PLA
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 10,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext.5PLA, or