Public Library Association releases new strategic plan

For Immediate Release
Fri, 09/07/2018


Laurence Deutsch

Manager, Communications

Public Library Association (PLA)

Addresses critical issues and changes affecting public libraries

CHICAGO – Today the Public Library Association (PLA) unveiled a new strategic plan effective through the year 2022. The new PLA Strategic Plan describes the association’s core purpose, core values, and vision for future success while also identifying goal areas where PLA will direct its energy and resources over the next several years.

The previous PLA Strategic Plan, released in 2014, resulted in several highly successful new initiatives, including Leadership Development, Performance Measurement, Family Engagement, and Digital Literacy. The new Strategic Plan also outlines five organizational goals in the areas of (1) Transformation, (2) Leadership, (3) Advocacy & Awareness, (4) Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice [EDISJ], and (5) Organizational Excellence. The association has already begun implementing these goals. For example, several regional EDISJ training opportunities for library workers will be offered in 2019. PLA has also taken steps toward achieving Organizational Excellence by pursuing new trends and models in association membership.

Some of the key deliverables outlined in the plan include:

  • Increasing awareness of, and access to, the fundamental types of literacy skills people need to achieve success in the 21st century;
  • Augmenting the number of libraries using meaningful and actionable measurements to understand and expand their impact on the community;
  • Supporting public library staff in shifting from a library-centered approach to a community-centered approach toward service delivery; and
  • Equipping its members with the resources to advocate and apply EDISJ principles in their libraries and communities.

“In updating the strategic plan, we closely considered our nation’s changing landscape – in political, economic, and social affairs – and its effect on public libraries,” explains PLA President Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne, PhD. “We also sought wide-ranging input from PLA members, staff, and other key stakeholders.”

Participation by PLA members in the plan-development and vetting process was robust. More than 2,000 individuals responded to the member survey. PLA also held focus groups that sought feedback from a diverse cohort which included early-career library workers, mid-level staff, and directors.

PLA views strategic planning as an ongoing process within the organization. Therefore, progress toward achieving the plan’s objectives will be assessed annually, and the plan will continue to be updated based on achievement and the changing needs of members and stakeholders.

To view the 2018-2022 PLA Strategic Plan, please click here.

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About PLA
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