Approved by the PLA Board of Directors June 2022
To view or download the Public Library Association (PLA) Strategic Plan 2022–2026, we recommend you click the cover image below to access the PDF version (6 pgs.).
In 2021, the PLA Board of Directors began the process of updating our strategic plan. In reviewing the five high-level goals of our 2018 plan (Transformation; Leadership; Advocacy and Awareness; Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice; and Organizational Excellence), we found that PLA and libraries had made progress toward reaching these goals, and that the goals were still largely relevant.
The pandemic and national outcry for racial and social justice, and the impact of both on public libraries were key considerations in refreshing our strategic goals. A lot has changed since 2018, and we wanted our strategic plan to reflect that. Through these lenses, we realized the relationship between the goals and our understanding of how PLA can and should work to advance these goals has shifted in important ways.
First, we do not see our strategic goals as discrete or linear. They are interconnected and support one another. This is most pronounced in our goal of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (EDISJ). EDISJ was added as a goal in the 2018 strategic plan. Since that time, we have come to understand the central role EDISJ concepts and practices take in our work, and the work of public libraries. The 2022 EDISJ goal is expansive in considering PLA’s approach to its work, the support we provide libraries and the ways we partner to bring structural change. Concepts of EDISJ are embedded in the other four goals to ensure we capture the full scope of this work.
Transformation has moved beyond proactively engaging communities to reflect ongoing and ever- changing needs. This is a shared responsibility with and for our members and the communities we serve.
Leadership has evolved into Professional Growth. We believe people can and do lead from wherever they work in a healthy organization, but the language of “leader” can sometimes be seen as limiting, applying to only managers or directors. Professional growth for all library workers is more inclusive and representative of the direction we seek to move.
Advocacy has taken on new urgency since 2018. The refreshed goal positions PLA as a platform for championing the good work happening locally, as well as providing tools and resources for your own advocacy efforts.
Finally, Organizational Excellence is our commitment to you to carry this work out responsibly and in response to your needs. It is how we do our work in ways that are most beneficial to you, our public library partners.
The Planning Process
The PLA strategic plan was informed by: member surveys, member and partner interviews, and PLA leadership and staff engagements. Responding to the current needs of the field while anticipating future demands were central to all planning conversations. PLA will report on its progress meeting the plan’s goals through regular reports to the PLA Board and annual Year in Review reports.
We invite you to review the refreshed plan and welcome your feedback. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full text of the strategic plan is below.
Public Library Association Strategic Plan 2022–2026
Approved by the Public Library Association (PLA) Board of Directors June 2022
A dynamic public library is the heart of every community.
PLA strives to make our vision a reality by strengthening public libraries and their contribution to communities.
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice
PLA centers equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice (EDISJ) in working with and for libraries as places of equitable opportunity.
- Create systems that center EDISJ as we strive to become a more open, inclusive and accessible organization.
- Provide the tools, trainings and communications libraries need to most actively contribute to advancing EDISJ principles in their libraries and communities.
- Actively participate and lead within ALA and with partners to move the field towards structural level changes that create more inclusive and welcoming library spaces, services, practices and staffing models.
PLA works with and for public libraries as they evolve to become more responsive to and reflective of ever-changing community needs.
- Provide training, networking and resources that build equitable workplaces.
- Provide platforms for libraries to share and test emerging best practices that lead to active inclusion, welcoming and belonging.
- Support libraries in advancing all literacies and expanding meaningful and relevant access that results in community wellbeing.
PLA offers inclusive pipelines and pathways for the professional growth of all library workers.
- Create more opportunities within PLA to support a growing cohort of library leaders with diverse experiences and backgrounds over the course of their careers.
- Grow the knowledge, skills and confidence of workers at all levels within local public libraries.
- Support library workers and advocates in leading from the values of the library field.
Advocacy and Awareness
PLA is the national voice for championing public libraries as a public good.
- Support public libraries’ efforts to communicate alignment of strategic priorities and core values in meeting community needs.
- Build library staff capacity to collect and share impacts with local, regional and state stakeholders and initiatives.
- Amplify the broad national impact of public libraries by aggregating and sharing data and stories.
- Collaborate with national-level partners to support legislative efforts that advance library interests.
PLA is the most trusted and innovative public library membership organization.
- Apply principles of EDISJ and use an equity impact analysis in decision making.
- Prioritize and align resources to increase membership and revenue.
- Measure impact on the library field in order adapt to new trends and models in association organization and membership.
- Seek and maintain a range of partnerships and funders to introduce and increase opportunities into the field.
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