Advancing Family Engagement in Public Libraries: A PLA Professional Development Series

Tuesday, 3/17/2020 - Tuesday, 12/15/2020

Advancing Family Engagement in Libraries logoBased on the Public Library Association’s Family Engagement framework, this new professional development activity will enable public library professionals to expand and refine their current family engagement programming and strategies. This subscription series will consist of eight highly interactive virtual classroom sessions, each led by experienced facilitators from the PLA Family Engagement Task Force and other experts. Participants will also engage in small-group work and facilitated discussions with their peers.

In addition to the virtual classroom sessions, participants will receive access to a closed ALA Connect community in which they may network with their peers and interact with session facilitators outside of class time. Access to this community, which includes exercises, session recordings, and other resources, will be given for a one-year period to all paid registrants.

In order to make the most of each virtual classroom session, participants will be required to complete 1–2 exercises (both individual and group) and read supplemental materials in advance. This pre-session work will help participants assess their current programming and services and make plans for future activity. This work should amount to no more than one hour per week outside of class time.

Schedule of Virtual Classroom Sessions

All sessions will begin at 1:00 PM Central and last for one hour, except for the first session which will last for 90 minutes.

  • Session 1:
    Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 1:00–2:30 PM Central – POSTPONED due to COVID-19 response
    What is Family Engagement? And the Case for Family Engagement in Libraries

  • Session 1:
    Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 1:00–2:30 PM Central
    What is Family Engagement? And the Case for Family Engagement in Libraries

  • Session 2:
    Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 1:00–2:00 PM Central
    Reach Out and Raise Up

  • Session 3:
    Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 1:00–2:00 PM Central
    Reinforcing Family Actions to Support Learning: The Early Years and School-Age Children

  • Session 4:
    Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 1:00–2:00 PM Central
    Reinforcing Family Actions to Support Lifelong Learning and Relating

  • Session 5:
    Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 1:00–2:00 PM Central
    Promoting Your Family Engagement Vision to the Community and Reimagining Partnerships

  • Session 6:
    Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 1:00–2:00 PM Central
    Leadership and Support Services

  • Session 7:
    October 20, 2020 at 1:00–2:00 PM Central
    Applying What You’ve Learned

  • Session 8:
    December 15, 2020 at 1:00–2:00 PM Central
    Wrap Up and Assessment Session

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this series, participants will be able to:

  • Describe and explain 12 PLA family engagement framework topics and how they guide libraries in supporting children's learning and development;
  • Assess their library’s current family engagement programs and develop effective strategies for future endeavors; and
  • Gain resources and techniques to create new family engagement programs or expand existing programs to foster shared responsibility for children’s learning among families, educators, and communities.

Who Should Attend

Public librarian professionals and administrators who are interested in developing, expanding, or refining their family engagement programs and strategies.


Allison Barney
Youth Services Manager
Denver (CO) Public Library

Ashley Brown
Engagement & Outreach Librarian
Auburn (AL) Public Library

Amber Creger
Youth Department Director
Schaumburg (IL) Township District Library

Claudia Haines
Youth Services Librarian
Homer (AK) Public Library

Mary Ellen Icaza
CEO & Executive Director
Stark Library

Emily Sedgwick
Project Manager
National Center for Families Learning

Heidi Smith
Library Director
Park Ridge (IL) Public Library

Scott G. Allen
Deputy Director
Public Library Association

Symone Villasenor
Project Manager
Public Library Association



Each group registration is intended for one public library or public library system and comes with two seats. Registrants will be required to identify a primary and secondary contact, and those individuals are encouraged to participate in all project activities and virtual classroom sessions as described above. However, a library may substitute other staff for the assigned contacts in specific virtual classroom sessions as needed (for instance, if primary and secondary registrants have conflicts, or to include staff from other library areas based on the topic). In order to receive the PLA member rate, the primary contact must be a PLA Personal Member in good standing at the time of registration.

Group – PLA Personal Member $550.00
Group – Other $650.00


How to Register

The first cohort beginning March 17, 2020 has reached capacity and registration is now closed.

  • If you are interested in the second cohort for the virtual classroom series that is tentatively scheduled to begin in September 2020, please begin the process by completing the short survey at:
  • You will be contacted by a PLA staff member after your survey submission to confirm that your submission has been received and that you have either been placed on a waitlist or have a confirmed spot for the second cohort of the series.
  • More details for the second cohort will be forthcoming in the summer of 2020.


If you have a physical or communication need that may affect your participation in this virtual classroom series, please contact Project Manager Symone Villasenor at 312-280-5018 or at least two weeks prior to the first session in the series. Without prior notification of need, we cannot attempt to provide appropriate accommodations.

Personal Data Notification

As a series registrant, you will receive follow-up correspondence from PLA specifically related to this series (including, but not limited to, instructions for accessing the live virtual sessions) as well as information about other PLA programs and resources. You may also receive relevant messages from our series partner or sponsor (if any). PLA will not sell this series’ registration list to any other outside parties. If a series sponsor chooses to communicate with you by e-mail, they are obligated to provide you with an opportunity to opt-out from future e-mails in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

The ALA (American Library Association and its units) and the ALA-APA (Allied Professional Association) (collectively “ALA”) use the personal data you provide to the ALA to process membership, inform you of products, services, conferences, education opportunities, events and for other purposes which are within the Association’s mission. To accomplish these actions, ALA contracts with third-parties who gather and process personal data to complete interactions such as online purchases, conference registration, and fulfillment. The personal data as provided is processed and stored as a legitimate Interest to the ALA in order to fulfill your requests for information and services from ALA.

For more information, review ALA’S PRIVACY POLICY at

Tech Requirements

The virtual classroom sessions will be presented using the Zoom platform. Please review Zoom technical requirements and support information and test your connection.

Once you've joined a session, there are two ways to connect your audio: via computer (VoIP) or via telephone. To use computer audio, a microphone—such as a headset with a microphone, or a USB or inline microphone—is required. Although a built-in computer or laptop microphone can be used, it is not preferred. If you do not have the required microphone, then on-screen prompts will instruct you how to call in using a telephone (your carrier's charges may apply). Always join the meeting from your computer first, then follow the on-screen prompts to connect your audio using a telephone.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, but will provide a boilerplate certificate of completion for this series, which registrants—individuals and groups—can personalize as needed.


For questions, please contact Project Manager Symone Villasenor at 312-280-5018 or