For immediate release | April 17, 2024

PLA wraps 2024 conference with strong attendance and engagement

CHICAGO - The Public Library Association (PLA) welcomed more than 7,500 public library workers, supporters, and vendors nationwide to celebrate all things public libraries at the PLA 2024 Conference, April 3–5, in Columbus, Ohio, and at the virtual conference. From groundbreaking initiatives to state-of-the-art technologies, participants delved into the field's latest trends, exemplary practices, and responsive solutions.

“Continuously adapting to provide essential resources that address changing needs, libraries foster opportunities for cultural exchange, inviting all to explore ideas and diverse perspectives while staunchly defending the freedom to read,” said PLA President Sonia Alcántara-Antoine. “Whether one is a public library professional, advocate, or industry stakeholder, PLA 2024 provided an exceptional platform for networking, knowledge-sharing, and active engagement in a professional movement aimed at shaping the future landscape of public library services.”

Tailored explicitly to cater to the needs of public library professionals, PLA 2024 celebrated innovation, inclusivity, and community empowerment. Standing-room-only sessions addressed topics ranging from partnering to address social service needs to protecting the freedom to read to building leadership and equity. Conference participants visited more than 280 exhibitors; helped stuff more than 1,500 essentials bags for the Community Shelter Board to support people experiencing homelessness; experienced some canine therapy in the Dog Park; and enjoyed Columbus’ hospitality. Overall, the PLA 2024 conference brought an estimated economic impact of $10 million to the city, as reported by Experience Columbus.

The conference began with inspiring remarks from Shola Richards, the bestselling author of "Making Work Work” and "Go Together." With a focus on workplace civility, Richards has earned global recognition for his passionate advocacy of kindness-driven change, extending his influence across diverse arenas, including leading universities, healthcare institutions, Silicon Valley, and the TEDx stage.

The conference's Big Idea Series, featuring acclaimed author and co-founder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network, Dr. Bettina Love, and climate change writer Mary Annaïse Heglar, drew significant interest, focusing on youth education, social justice, and anti-racism. Attendees also had the opportunity to engage with other esteemed authors such as Gennifer Choldenko, Fiona Davis, Amanda Jones, Loren Long, Daniel Nayeri, Molly Knox Ostertag, Rainbow Rowell, Maleeha Siddiqui, and Greg Wands.

The Closing Session, featuring comedian Dulcé Sloan, offered a delightful conclusion to the event. As one of the sharpest, fastest-rising voices in comedy, Sloan has been recognized by Variety magazine as one of the Top 10 Comedians to Watch. Her first memoir, “Hello, Friends!: Stories of Dating, Destiny, and Day Jobs,” provides a comedic glimpse into the life of one of the country’s most exciting comedians.

Visit PLA's YouTube channel to catch video highlights from the conference and more. Conference merchandise and other PLA publications and products can also be found in the ALA Store. PLA 2026 will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and PLA online learning is available all year round.

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 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


Eliana Tang Kleiman

Communications Associate

Public Library Association