For immediate release | June 1, 2012

PLA receives IMLS grant to plan for a national digital summer reading program

CHICAGO —The Public Library Association has been awarded a planning grant of $50,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support the research and design of a national digital summer reading (NDSR) program website application (app). PLA will work in partnership with Influx Library User Experience (Influx) to manage the grant project and plan development of the app. Expected to be built on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) platform, the NDSR app will be available to all libraries in the U.S.

This groundbreaking effort will not only enhance the resources of public libraries to connect with children and teens in an interactive and modern way, but also take advantage and showcase the possibilities of open access through the DPLA. The anticipated NDSR website app will enable children and teens to interact with public libraries and summer reading content in numerous ways, including: reading, listening, watching, playing, writing, reviewing, drawing and recording. The ubiquity and flexibility of the digital environment also offers entirely new ways to expand the success of the traditional summer reading program. “This is a very exciting development for public libraries,” said Marcia Warner, PLA president and director of the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library. “Many libraries struggle with the resources to present a robust summer reading program, but by developing this engaging tool and delivering it through the DPLA, libraries will have free access to an easy-to-deploy, dynamic summer reading website.”

Influx principals Nate Hill (assistant director for technology, Chattanooga Public Library, Tenn.) and Aaron Schmidt will lead the company’s efforts. The initial phase of the grant project (Summer 2012) will result in an interactive online locater of summer reading programs, while the second phase (Spring 2013) will result in a white paper reflecting user research and outlining a plan for the creation of the NDSR website app. The white paper will reside online to allow for public contributions to the NDSR plan.

Schmidt commented, “In order for the NDSR to be successful it must address real issues and ultimately deliver what potential users need and want. We plan to connect with library professionals through site visits, interviews and surveys to ensure the NDSR reflects their insight and is first and foremost a relevant and practical resource.”

PLA will work with an advisory board consisting of both school and public librarians to steer the research, evaluate progress and engage the library community throughout the grant period. For more information about plans for the NDSR program, please contact Barb Macikas, executive director, PLA, at or (312) 280-5028.

About the Public Library Association

PLA is a division of the American Library Association. PLA’s core purpose is to strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve. Its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or visit PLA’s website at

About Influx Library User Experience

Influx is a consultancy dedicated to user experience design for libraries. They help libraries meet the needs of their communities and delight library members though a user research focused approach. For more information visit

About the Digital Public Library of America

The DPLA Steering Committee is leading the first concrete steps toward the realization of a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all. This impact-oriented research effort unites leaders from all types of libraries, museums, and archives with educators, industry, and government to define the vision for a digital library in service of the American public. The DPLA Secretariat is located at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; the Steering Committee comprises library and foundation leaders across the nation. More information can be found at


Amy Sargent

Manager, Marketing

Public Library Association (PLA)

1-800-545-2433 ext.5024