For immediate release | March 23, 2021

Free training to boost Census data literacy skills, improve planning and programs

CHICAGO – The Public Library Association (PLA) is launching a new project on Census Data Literacy, in partnership with the Public Policy and Advocacy office (PPA) of the American Library Association. The project will promote awareness and use of community-level Census data and build the data literacy skills of library staff, which will enhance their services and programs.

“This project builds on the excellent work library staff did to promote a complete and inclusive count in the 2020 Census,” said Larra Clark, deputy director of PLA and PPA. “The data literacy skills embedded in this project will help libraries and communities move forward in efforts to recover from the pandemic and also to reckon with the past, as legacies of racism and exclusion can be uncovered through research using the Census.”

Six free webinars and a set of complementary resources will empower library staff to provide inclusive patron training on using Census data in key areas. Topics covered will include:

  • starting, growing, and sustaining local businesses and economic development;
  • nonprofit and government planning; and
  • student and community research.

The first webinar in the series, “Data that Counts: An Introduction to Census Data for Public Libraries” takes place April 6, 2021, at 1 p.m. CDT. This webinar will introduce attendees to the important role that public libraries can play in assisting individuals, groups, and organizations with finding, accessing, and using census data for planning and decision-making. Participants will hear from librarians who have offered data literacy programs at their libraries to reach multiple audiences, including small businesses and entrepreneurs, local historians, students, and nonprofits and government agencies. Resources and tools for searching basic census sources will be covered.

Learn more about the Census Data Literacy project at Register for free for the webinar series on PLA’s online learning webpage at

About the Public Library Association

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 10,000 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


Scott Allen

Deputy Director

American Library Association

Public Library Association