PLA, Gail Borden Public Library team up to expand training resources

For Immediate Release
Mon, 11/06/2017


Laurence Deutsch

Manager, Communications

Public Library Association (PLA)

CHICAGO —, the Public Library Association’s (PLA) website designed to help consumers increase their digital literacy skills, now includes a robust suite of resources and tools for library staff and other educators to use when conducting training in the community. PLA has completed the incorporation the learning modules that comprised Gail’s Toolkit, a project developed by the Gail Borden Public Library District, located in Elgin, Illinois. offers a collection of tutorials on a wide range of subjects, including navigating the World Wide Web, using email, searching online for employment and creating a résumé. The learning modules are video-based with narration at a fourth-grade reading level. Each lesson is between six and 22 minutes in duration and available in both English and Spanish. Although libraries regularly incorporate these tutorials as part of classroom teaching, they were designed to be taken independently, anywhere and at any time, by learners.

Funded by a Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association’s Publishing Office and sponsored by the Reaching Across Illinois Library System, Gail’s Toolkit was a free online portal for training resources to help library staff teach basic computer skills. The project ran from spring 2015 through spring 2017, and developed lesson plans, presentations, handouts, and surveys for use in computer classes at libraries and other community institutions.

“The response to the Toolkit was so positive that we realized we needed a strong partner to help us sustain and grow it once the grant ended” explains Monica Dombrowski, director of digital services for the Gail Borden Public Library District. “PLA’s was the perfect fit since our project complemented their already-robust learner tools by offerings resources for those teaching digital literacy skills in libraries.”    

The training resources and tools can be found at or by clicking the “Help Learners” link in the upper-right corner of any page of the main site. Tools to help library staff teach 81 different courses are readily available to download and personalize. Most courses include a course design document for instructors, a slide set, and handouts and activity sheets for learners. The site also includes blank templates so instructors can create their own courses.

“The Gail Borden Public Library District provided an outstanding resource to the library community these past few years, and PLA is thrilled to add this valuable content to our DigitalLearn website so it’s even more accessible to librarians and others,” adds Scott G. Allen, PLA deputy director. is just one tool PLA offers to help its members make their libraries digital literacy learning centers. The Association also offers continuing education on digital literacy training and a variety of professional tools for public librarians. For more information, please click here.

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About 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, visit