For immediate release | September 22, 2014

PLA Midwinter Institute features Valerie J. Gross and strategies to redefine the public library

CHICAGO – The Public Library Association (PLA) is offering a thought-provoking Institute at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting. "Who We Are, What We Do, Why It Matters: Our Distinctive Purpose" will be presented by Valerie J. Gross, president and CEO, Howard County (Md.) Public Library from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2015.

This interactive day will highlight a simple strategy that will make libraries and library professionals indispensable for centuries to come. Attendees will learn how a growing number of libraries are repositioning themselves as a key component of the education enterprise, alongside schools, colleges and universities, by simply changing what they say—not what they do. Library Journal calls this approach “a 21st-century model worthy of study and consideration by every library in America, if not the world."

The Institute will offer a chance to explore, discuss and practice proven techniques to:

  • redefine libraries in a new, innovative way;
  • align your library with what the community values most: education;
  • incorporate intuitive, value-enhancing words into your everyday lexicon;
  • heighten your library's visibility and stature; and
  • develop strategies that you can integrate immediately into your work.

Instructor Valerie J. Gross, MM, MLS, JD, is president & CEO of Howard County (Md.) Library System (HCLS), a 2013 Library of the Year (Gale, Library Journal). She led the transformation of HCLS to its current prominence as a renowned educational institution, alongside the region’s schools, colleges and universities. Gross has presented 50+ workshops, seminars, webinars and keynotes, drawing the participation and input of thousands of library professionals from 42 states and more than a dozen counties around the world. Combining these experiences, she authored Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage (ABC-CLIO, 2013).

The cost for early bird registration of this full-day Midwinter Institute includes lunch: $235 (PLA Members), $275 (ALA Members), $305 (nonmembers). At this time the Institute is only available with ALA Midwinter/Annual Bundle registration. After Oct. 1, when Midwinter Early Bird Registration opens, the Institute will be available with or without an ALA Midwinter Meeting registration.

For additional information, please contact PLA at or (800) 545-2433 x 5752.

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, and its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services.


Amy Sargent

Professional Development Manager