About PLA

Image of PLA leaders including Felton Thomas (President 2016-2017), Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson (Director-at-Large 2015-2018), Vailey Oehlke (back to camera, President 2015-2016), Carolyn Anthony (President 2013-2014), and Larry Neal (partially obscured, President 2014-2015), celebrating at the PLA 2016 Conference in Denver, Colo.

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 offers continuing education opportunities, unique public library initiatives, and a conference that welcomes public library staff into meaningful partnership. In collaboration with its parent organization, the American Library Association, PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Awards and Grants
For decades, PLA’s awards program has honored those providing public library service whose vision and accomplishments are extraordinary and deserve recognition. In 2021, PLA leadership revisited the number, purpose, and impact of the awards. PLA staff is currently planning the next iteration of our awards program, but we don’t have a timetable as to when the new program will be unveiled.

For the past 75 years, PLA has worked tirelessly to support the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Since our inception, on Oct. 13, 1944, PLA has grown by leaps and bounds, from a small group of charter members to nearly 10,000 professionals representing public libraries large and small.

Mission and Strategy
Governance and other key documents, including mission and goals, strategic plan, bylaws, and reports.


Our board and volunteers help the staff cultivate a community of talented public library professionals where anyone can contribute, and everyone can grow.

Related Sites
A list of other sites hosted by, maintained by, or otherwise related to PLA.

Social Media

Opportunities to support PLA are available to individuals, organizations, and corporations.

Working with PLA
Resources, policies, and procedures to facilitate your involvement with PLA.