Committee on Family Engagement


To explore partnerships and consider resources to be developed to help public libraries learn about and implement successful family engagement practices. The Committee will report to the PLA Board of Directors at least twice per year.

Please note: Effective July 2024, the Committee on Family Engagement will transition from a committee to an advisory group. The PLA Board approved this change in Fall 2023 to ensure standing committees remain aligned with the current PLA Strategic Plan, while advisory groups continue to support work that is critical to serving the public library field.

Deliverables and outcomes:

  • Promote and continue to expand on PLA’s family engagement framework and program models as published in the 2016 Ideabook: Libraries for Families (PDF)
  • Provide tools to public libraries to promote their family engagement vision and services to educators, families, and government leaders such as the Libraries Transform Family Engagement Toolkit
  • Create an assessment process for public libraries to evaluate family engagement at the public library strategy, funding, partnerships and programming levels and develop action plans
  • Educate the public library field about family engagement via ALA conference presentations and development of a library in-service toolkit and potential speakers bureau
  • Identify and/or develop model programming for public libraries for families with children of all ages
  • Connect with professionals in the government, education, early childhood, social service and other sectors about the potential of public libraries
  • Positively impact the number of U.S. libraries that incorporate family engagement into their strategic vision, leverage partnerships and funding at the community level to support family engagement, and improve youth and adult programs to better promote parental involvement in children’s education

Expected time commitment:

  • Attend ALA national conferences (4 hours/year plus travel time)
  • Attend virtual meetings scheduled every 1–2 months (6–10 hours/year)
  • Participate on project subcommittees as assigned (variable)
  • Review and respond to emails and ALA Connect messages (2–3 hours/year)
  • Provide subject matter expertise on priority projects (12 hours/year)
  • (Optional) Attend national meetings of education/early childhood/family-serving professionals to present about partnering with public libraries for family success (variable)

Desired skills, knowledge, or experience:

  • Familiarity with the family engagement movement in the early childhood and education sectors and knowledge of how caregiver involvement in children’s education leads to better educational and economic success
  • Ability to advise PLA about public library family engagement strategies, from the library director, children’s or youth services, and/or adult services perspectives (expertise at all levels is needed)
  • Skills in writing and program development in order to help take the Task Force’s vision from idea to product stage


Lisa Mulvenna
(Co-Chair, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024)
Ms. Linda S. Noyce
(Co-Chair, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024)
Patricia Tsune Ballard
(Member, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025)
Emilie Braunel
(Member, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025)
Pam Brockway
(Member, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025)
Carrie A. Herrmann
(Member, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025)
Ms. Kristen Marie Hillman, MLIS
(Member, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025)
Valerie A. Johnson
(Member, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025)
Nancy E. Rath
(Member, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025)
Ms. Emily Sedgwick
(Member, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025)
Dr. Zachary Lee Stier
(Member, July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2023)
Ms. Brooke Corso
(AASL Liaison, July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025)
Mary R. Hirsh
(Staff Liaison, November 11, 2021, to June 30, 2025)

Displaying active committee roster as of 07/01/2023. Last retrieved on 06/22/2024. Refresh now.


Up to fifteen (15) members, which includes:

  • One (1) chairperson or two (2) co-chairpersons with one-year terms
  • Up to ten (10) members, and no fewer than five (5), with two-year terms
  • Up to three (3) liaisons, one each appointed by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

Created as a Task Force by the Board of Directors at its May 2015 meeting and approved as a standing committee at its March 2021 meeting.

Staff Liaison

Mary Hirsh

Deputy Director, Programs


Get Involved

To be a thriving, vibrant organization, PLA must have committed and active committee members. If you are interested in serving on a committee, please read and fill out the online volunteer form.

  • Volunteers are accepted on an ongoing basis.
  • Appointments are made by the PLA President and President-Elect, primarily in the spring.
  • Volunteers must be members of ALA and PLA.

Join the PLA Family Engagement Interest Group on ALA Connect to stay up-to-date on these topics and connect with peers on similar issues. PLA personal membership is required to join.