For immediate release | September 7, 2021

IMLS funds $500,000 research project to study the value of U.S. library programming

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) has received $498,805 in funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to conduct a foundational three-year research project into library programming, the second phase in ALA’s National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA).

NILPPA Phase 2 will advance the library field’s understanding of library programming by exploring (1) what program impact looks like for libraries and communities and (2) how libraries partner with other organizations and leaders to achieve that impact, especially during the challenging COVID-19 era.

In collaboration with Knology, a non-profit research organization, the project will bring together a team of researchers and advisors to collect and interpret data through surveys, focus groups and interviews. The process will be based in the “Transformative Paradigm,” a research framework that emphasizes social justice and supports the inclusion of marginalized voices.

Insights will be shared widely with the library field through a white paper, blog posts, webinars, conference presentations and practitioner tools.

In 2019, ALA published the NILPPA Phase 1 white paper, which shared a categorization framework of public programs and a set of nine skills areas required for effective public programming. Building on this work, Phase 2 seeks to develop a national standard for measuring and comparing the results of library programming. NILPPA 2 will empower libraries to make decisions about identifying, selecting and prioritizing strategies to work with potential community partners in ways that produce the highest-value opportunities for their communities.

NILPPA: Phase 2 is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant number LG-250153-OLS-21.

The project will be administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

About ALA’s Public Programs Office

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation and connection in communities of all types. Learn more at

About Knology

Knology is a non-profit research organization that produces practical social science for a better world. The organization pursues this goal to help professionals in a variety of sectors build inclusive, informed, and cooperative societies that can thrive together with the natural systems on which we all depend. As a transdisciplinary collective of over 30 social scientists, writers, and educators, the organization's work process is built on equity, transparency, and deliberation.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and approximately 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Hannah Arata

Communications Associate

American Library Association

Public Programs Office