Professional Tools

PLA Professional Tools

PLA Professional Tools provide practical resources to help you talk about how far your library has come and invent what comes next. Topics include administration, management, technical services, community engagement, digital literacy, technology, advocacy, and more. The toolkit aims to support library professionals with access to current information resources and best practice guidelines.

Circulation & Technical Services

In the following section you will find resources devoted to cataloging practices, collections management, digital collections, electronic resources, eLibraries, integrated library systems & automated services, non-traditional circulating materials, patron privacy, and RFID tags. View subtopics »

Community Engagement & Outreach

In the following section you will find resources devoted to helping you increase your community engagement and outreach, including: the ALA Libraries Transform campaign, outreach strategies, information on bookmobiles, how to work with community groups, universal access, and much more. View subtopics »

Directors, Managers & Administrators

In the following section you will find information for directors, managers, and administrators. View subtopics »

Programming & Instruction

In the following section you will find resources for adults on digital literacy, GED/high school equivalency, job searching, working with refugee populations, programming, financial literacy, and retirement preparation. View subtopics »

Public Relations & Marketing

In the following section you will find resources devoted to increasing the efficacy of your marketing and public relations strategies, including: the value of libraries, performance measurements, marketing strategies, where to find images and programs for marketing materials, public relations resources, advocacy, and much more. View subtopics »


In the following section you will find reference related resources. Tools for reference training, technology reference, virtual reference, reader’s advisory, and E-Government are featured in this area. View subtopics »


In the following section you will find resources devoted to makerspaces and other technologies relevant to libraries. View subtopics »

Youth Services

In the following section you will find resources for the birth to young adult populations including: early literacy, programming, award winners, summer reading, and more. View subtopics »

Additional Resources

Careers in Public Libraries
Learn more about careers in public librarianship.

Resources for Public Libraries Serving Persons Experiencing Homelessness
According to the U.S. Department of  Housing and Urban Development's 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), on a single night in January 2016, 549,928 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. This population includes men, women, children, and families. They face a wide range of challenges including lack of affordable housing, employment opportunities, healthcare, and other needed services. As many public librarians know, with no safety net to speak of, homeless citizens often turn to the library for help. We’ve started this list of resources and related reading as a way to help libraries provide the best possible service to this group. We welcome your input!

Post-Election Resources
PLA knows its members and their libraries may be struggling to respond to the post-election challenges our communities face. Public libraries have an unparalleled ability to bring people and knowledge together, especially in times of uncertainty and division. As we invite our communities to have critical conversations, we must be committed to ensuring a safe place for all that reflects and serves the diversity of our nation. PLA offers resources to help its members serve their communities.