Southard to leave Public Library Association

Contact: Kathleen Hughes

PLA Communications Manager

(800) 545-2433, ext. 4028


For Immediate Release

July 21, 2009

CHICAGO - Greta K. Southard, longtime executive director of the Public Library Association has announced that she will resign her position as of Aug. 31, 2009. She has been executive director of the Public Library Association since 1996. Southard has been selected executive director of the Boone County, (Ky.) Public Library, from a nationwide pool of candidates. She will assume the post in September 2009.

“While I will miss working with the staff and member-leaders of the Public Library Association, I’m pleased and excited to be joining the Boone County Public Library. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to move home closer to my family and to tackle a new challenge of being a public library director, providing public library service in a growing and thriving community. I look forward to working with the terrific staff and Board as we continue to build upon the wonderful programs and services the library is known for.”

Among the accomplishments during her tenure at PLA are:

  • Developing numerous PLA publications including the
    Libraries Prosper with Passion, Purpose and Persuasion! advocacy toolkit and the PLA
    Results series;
  • Managing the growth and development of the largest division national conferences in PLA and ALA history;
  • Developing substantive high quality continuing education for the
    Certified Library Administrator program;
  • Facilitating the development of the
    Every Child Ready to Read initiative;
  • Conceptualizing and administering the grant project,
    Turning the Page, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Before serving as PLA executive director, Southard served as PLA deputy executive director for three years. Prior to that she served as account executive for Mead Data Central, Chicago, Illinois, and has held various law librarian positions. She received her M.L.S. from Indiana University, Bloomington, and is a member of the American Society of Association Executives, Association Forum of Chicagoland, and the Illinois Library Association.

“Greta has been an outstanding executive director for the Public Library Association,” said Sari Feldman, PLA president. “We are particularly fortunate to have had Greta's leadership and relationship-building skills to foster the Turning the Page program through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We will work closely with the American Library Association leadership on a national search to bring an executive director to advocate for public libraries and the PLA”

PLA is a division of the American Library Association. For more information visit or call 800-545-2433, ext. 5PLA.