For immediate release | November 15, 2016

PLA President Felton Thomas Jr. releases statement on public libraries and inclusiveness

CHICAGO – Public Library Association (PLA) President Felton Thomas Jr. released the following statement in response to the divisive election season and the post-election challenges our communities face. This message is in support of the statement released earlier today by the American Library Association.

“Inclusiveness is a core value of the Public Library Association. The public library has an unparalleled ability to bring people and knowledge together, especially in times of uncertainty and division. We are places of learning, free inquiry and free speech for people of all ages and backgrounds.

As such, our nation’s public libraries stand as a bulwark to intolerance and a beacon of opportunity. We are committed to ensuring a safe place for all that reflects and serves the diversity of our nation in our collections, programs and services. With thousands of public libraries in towns and neighborhoods across the country, we invite community conversations and action that further understanding and address local needs.”

PLA will work to develop resources that public libraries can use to support these critical conversations in their communities. Members will be apprised of all future developments as they become available.

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 9,000 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 visit


Kara O'Keefe

Manager, Marketing and Membership

Public Library Association (PLA)