PLA to host free virtual Town Hall to address threats in public libraries

For Immediate Release
Thu, 11/17/2022


Eliana Tang Kleiman

Communications Associate

Public Library Association

CHICAGO — The Public Library Association (PLA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) and the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) will host a free virtual town hall titled “Spotlight on Safety: Addressing Threats in Public Libraries” on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. CT.

Public libraries are increasingly responding to violent and inflammatory speech and targeted threats to their buildings, workers, and patrons. Over the last two weeks of September 2022, libraries in five cities faced bomb or shooting threats that resulted in canceled events and closures. These incidents also come directly on the heels of widespread intimidation related to censorship in the past year. Thankfully, no one was hurt in these recent threats, but the stress and disruption of service take a toll on library workers and the communities they serve.

In September 2022, the ALA Executive Board asked the FBI to investigate these incidents. “We are stronger together as we share information and strategies,” said PLA president Maria McCauley following the attacks in September. “PLA is committed to strengthening our networks and supports for all public library staff.”

Facing such threats to our basic safety can often be traumatic and isolating. PLA, ULC, and ARSL invite all library workers to join this virtual event to reflect and share with public library colleagues across the country. During the event, panelists will participate in a facilitated conversation that explores effective policies and practices to improve safety and security for library staff and patrons, and invites questions and resources to be shared among all attendees.

The panel will feature PLA president Maria McCauley, senior counsel to the director for the US Department of Justice Justin Lock, director of the Fort Worth (Texas) Public Library Manya Shorr, library social worker with San Francisco (Calif.) Public Library Leah Esguerra, and director of security at Mid-Continent Public Library (Independence, Mo.) Dustin Koopman. The virtual town hall is free, but registration is required and space is limited. Register for the event here:

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