PLA Leadership Lab: Embedding EDI in Library Leaders

Wednesday, 2/3/2021 - Wednesday, 3/24/2021

PLA Leadership Lab logo

The systems of public library services have evolved with a constant mission to serve the public good but have demonstrated that equal access is not equitable for all. Embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion in library leadership development requires a multi-pronged approach that relies on building trust internally with library staff and externally with community assets. This workshop—consisting of six live virtual classroom sessions—will explore transformational leadership through the lens of the current social crises, emphasizing equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice (EDISJ) principles and approaches, supplemented by leadership development and asset-based community development tools.

To make the most of each of the 90-minute virtual classroom sessions, participants will be asked to complete work in advance of virtual sessions. This will include reading supplemental materials, viewing recordings, and connecting with peers. The format of live sessions will include open discussion before each live session, roughly 45 minutes of presentations from facilitators, roughly 30 minutes of moderated small group breakout work, and question and answer periods.

In order to maximize connections and learning in small groups, participants will work in the same small group breakouts throughout the Leadership Lab. To facilitate this, all participants will be asked to identify themselves in two ways:

Identify your library size/location (pick one)

  • Large and/or urban
  • Midsize and/or suburban
  • Small and/or rural

Identify your primary work function/focus (pick two)

  • Community Engagement – building community partnerships both internally and externally
  • Programming and Services – exploring EDISJ impacts on public-facing services and programs
  • Library Spaces – examining current structures and redefining how library spaces are used
  • Strategic Planning & Execution – planning for the future with an equity lens
  • Budgeting and Finance – examining challenges and opportunities around library budgets
  • Collection Management – considering EDISJ issues specific to library collections
  • Staff Development – exploring issues around hiring and retention as it relates to EDISJ
  • Organizational Leadership – considering leadership issues specific to the work of library directors and assistant directors

Participants who attend all six sessions will receive a certificate of completion for 9 contact hours.

Schedule of Live Virtual Sessions

All sessions will begin at 1:00 PM Central and last for 90 minutes, ending at 2:30 PM Central.

Session Title Date Facilitator

Orientation: Embedding EDI in Public Library Leaders 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Adam Goodman

Asset Based Community Development Part 1

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Indigo Bishop

Asset Based Community Development Part 2

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Indigo Bishop

Relationship and Partnership Development

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Christina Fuller-Gregory

Evolution and Advancement of Public Library Leaders

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Adam Goodman

From Purpose to Action

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Elizabeth Joseph


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and define core principles of leadership values and concepts;
  • Recognize and embed EDISJ principles that dismantle systemic racism in library services and policies;
  • Deconstruct library issues of internal and external injustice to create a culture of safety, belonging, and empowerment; and
  • Recommend innovations and opportunities for transformation at various levels of library leadership and community development using the asset based community development (ABCD) process as a tool for systemic change.

Who Should Attend

This workshop is appropriate for public library staff at all levels, including staff in managerial and director positions. It is targeted toward those with a desire to build their capacity for equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice in public libraries. Whether currently serving in public library leadership positions or interested in moving into those roles, all participants should be prepared to bring their whole self, their openness to authentic engagement, their willingness to embrace discomfort, and their bravery to this learning space.


Indigo Bishop
Program Officer, Saint Luke’s Foundation, Cleveland, OH

Christina Fuller-Gregory
Assistant Director
South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville, SC

Adam Goodman
Center for Leadership, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Elizabeth Joseph
Associate Director for Community Engagement
Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT



PLA Personal Member $400.00
ALA Personal Member $475.00
Retired Member $370.00
Student Member $370.00
Nonmember $475.00


PLA offers a 10% discount for groups of five or more from the same library.

How to Register

Registration is now closed because space in this workshop is no longer available. If you'd like to be added to the waitlist for this cohort, or be notified when we begin accepting registrations for the next cohort, please submit your name and email address.


If you have a physical or communication need that may affect your participation in this virtual classroom series, please contact Meetings Manager Lian Drago at 312-280-5021 or at least two weeks prior to the first session in the series. Without prior notification of need, we cannot attempt to provide appropriate accommodations.

Personal Data Notification

As a series registrant, you will receive follow-up correspondence from PLA specifically related to this series (including, but not limited to, instructions for accessing the live virtual sessions) as well as information about other PLA programs and resources. You may also receive relevant messages from our series partner or sponsor (if any). PLA will not sell this series’ registration list to any other outside parties. If a series sponsor chooses to communicate with you by e-mail, they are obligated to provide you with an opportunity to opt-out from future e-mails in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

The ALA (American Library Association and its units) and the ALA-APA (Allied Professional Association) (collectively “ALA”) use the personal data you provide to the ALA to process membership, inform you of products, services, conferences, education opportunities, events and for other purposes which are within the Association’s mission. To accomplish these actions, ALA contracts with third-parties who gather and process personal data to complete interactions such as online purchases, conference registration, and fulfillment. The personal data as provided is processed and stored as a legitimate Interest to the ALA in order to fulfill your requests for information and services from ALA.

For more information, review ALA’S PRIVACY POLICY at

Tech Requirements

The virtual classroom sessions will be presented using the Zoom platform. Please review Zoom technical requirements and support information and test your connection.

Once you've joined a session, there are two ways to connect your audio: via computer (VoIP) or via telephone. To use computer audio, a microphone—such as a headset with a microphone, or a USB or inline microphone—is required. Although a built-in computer or laptop microphone can be used, it is not preferred. If you do not have the required microphone, then on-screen prompts will instruct you how to call in using a telephone (your carrier's charges may apply). Always join the meeting from your computer first, then follow the on-screen prompts to connect your audio using a telephone.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, but will provide a boilerplate certificate of completion for this series, which registrants—individuals and groups—can personalize as needed.


For questions, please contact Program Manager Leighann Wood at 312-280-5867 or