Our groundbreaking initiatives do more than develop new skills—they move our profession to ever more innovative places.
Community members come into public libraries every day, hoping to complete life tasks many of us take for granted, but lacking the basic computer skills to accomplish them. Through its digital literacy efforts, PLA supports its members to turn their libraries into digital literacy learning centers.
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
PLA advocates for equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice in order to enable every member, library, and community group to fully and equally participate in a society mutually shaped to meet their needs.
Inclusive Internship Initiative
Between 2017 and 2021, one hundred and ninety-eight high school students from 119 libraries across forty-four states participated in PLA’s Inclusive Internship Initiative (III), designed to provide high-school-aged students from diverse backgrounds with paid, mentored internships in local public libraries. Students experienced the work of librarianship firsthand and explored how to use their talents and perspectives to impact their communities. To support libraries interested in launching their own internship program, PLA is pleased to offer the Inclusive Internship Toolkit: A Practical Guide for Teen Internships, available as a free download.
Family engagement is a shared responsibility among families, educators, and communities to support children’s learning and development. PLA’s work on family engagement will help libraries serve families of all types with children of all ages.
Early literacy efforts are a natural first step in supporting children’s learning and development, and in building greater family engagement. PLA proudly offers Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® to help libraries teach parents and other caregivers how to support the development of their children’s literacy skills.
Global Libraries Legacy Partnership
In 2016, PLA received a ten-year grant from the Global Libraries Initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. PLA is partnering with fellow Gates Foundation grantees the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington’s Information School and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions to align our efforts toward a shared vision of a global library field.
Health Literacy, Programming, and Consumer Health Information
Access to current and reliable health information is imperative for the well-being of all Americans, and public libraries are frequently a "go-to" resource as people navigate complex issues of health care, insurance, aging, and more.
As part of its 2022–2026 strategic plan, the Public Library Association (PLA) committed to “support libraries in advancing all literacies and expanding meaningful and relevant access that results in community wellbeing” as part of its Transformation pillar. This commitment is expressed in our extensive work related to digital literacy, early literacy, health literacy, Census data literacy, and to new resources and training supporting information literacy through our nation’s public libraries.
From connecting job seekers with employers, to educating and advancing the work of the next generation of entrepreneurs, libraries are established centers for learning and advancement. PLA’s advocacy and programming help libraries nationwide respond to these critical community needs strengthened workforce collaborations and expanded services.