PLA Leadership Academy

PLA Leadership Academy logo

March 25–29, 2019
Omni Hotel
Chicago, IL

Interested participants must apply and be accepted to participate in the PLA Leadership Academy. However, the deadline to apply for this academy has passed.

Applicants must:

  • Have at least five years of experience with increasing responsibility, as a full-time employee in a public library
  • Be PLA members (or willing to join PLA, if accepted)

Two letters of recommendation are required to complete the application. The letters must include one from each of the following:

  • Your supervisor (If you are a library director, a letter from your Board or from a state library agency or consortium would be acceptable.)
  • A colleague or community member who has worked with you on a library project/initiative

Although the deadline to apply for this academy has passed, you can ask to be alerted when we begin accepting applications for the next PLA Leadership Academy. Please submit your name and e-mail address to be notified.

Each application we receive that meets the requirements will be reviewed by seasoned library leaders who will evaluate the quality of your personal statements and letters of recommendation against a set of criteria.


Selected applicants will be notified on or before December 10, 2018. Those selected will be required to review and agree to certain terms by December 21, 2018 to secure a spot in the Academy.   


In preparation for the Leadership Academy, selected participants are expected to attend an orientation webinar, complete the required readings, take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment (at PLA’s expense), and submit a brief narrative describing their project. 


You are responsible for the cost of your travel to and from Chicago, and your hotel accommodations at the Omni Hotel. Once you are selected and have accepted you will receive more details about booking your accommodations.

The schedule will be finalized by the time of acceptance. Tentatively, attendees should arrive in Chicago on Sunday, March 24, and depart late afternoon on Friday, March 29, 2019.


The curriculum has been designed very carefully to maximize education, experience, and team-building. Each daytime and evening event is an important component of the Academy and relies upon the active participation of every attendee. Attendance is mandatory unless listed otherwise.  If your schedule does not allow you to participate in the entire program, we ask you to decline your acceptance so we can offer the opportunity to an applicant on the waiting list. 


Selected participants are expected to identify a project at their library to implement following the Academy, and submit a brief 1-page status report on the progress of their project by July 31, 2019.

Travel Grant

To support racially and ethnically diverse leaders in public libraries, PLA will award a $1,500 travel grant to cover the cost of air travel and lodging to attend the PLA Leadership Academy. Interested participants who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern/North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander must complete a separate application to be considered for the travel grant.


If you have questions about PLA Leadership Academy, please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If the answer to your question is not covered in the FAQ, please e-mail

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.