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Public Library Association

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Title: Public Library Association  
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Subject: American Library Association, Public Libraries (journal), Intellectual freedom, American Association of School Librarians, Association of College and Research Libraries
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Public Library Association

Public Library Association
Abbreviation PLA
Formation 1944
Type Non-profit
Purpose "To strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve"[1]
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Region served United States
Membership 9,000[2]
Executive Director Barbara Macikas
Main organ Board of Directors
Website Public Library Association

The Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association, is a professional association of public librarians and supporters dedicated to the "development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services."[3] In keeping with this mission, the PLA provides continuing education to members, hosts a biennial professional conference, publishes a trade journal, and advocates for public libraries and literacy.[4] The PLA has over 9,000 members. It was founded in 1944.[5]


The PLA identifies the following areas as "priority concerns":

  • Adequate funding for public libraries
  • Improved management of public libraries
  • Recognition of the importance of all library staff members in providing quality public service
  • Recruitment, education, training, and compensation of public librarians
  • Intellectual freedom
  • Improved access to library resources
  • Effective communication with the nonlibrary world.[6]


The PLA is governed by an 11-member Board of Directors elected by the association's members. The PLA Board of Directors consists of the President, President-Elect, Past-President, six Directors-at-Large, ALA Division Councilor, and PLA Executive Director. The Executive Director is an ex-officio and non-voting board member tasked with enacting the board's decisions.[7] The PLA's current president is Carolyn Anthony, its president-elect is Larry Neal, and its executive director is Barbara Macikas.[8]

Members of PLA standing committees, award juries, task forces, and advisory groups are appointed to one- or two-year terms by the president-elect. Active committees include a Budget and Finance Committee, Every Child Ready to Read Oversight Committee, Intellectual Freedom Committee, Leadership Development Committee, Legislation and Advocacy Committee, Public Libraries Advisory Committee, and committees to manage the PLA's biennial conferences and nominate candidates for committee service.[9]


Public Libraries is the PLA's official trade magazine. Published six times annually, this magazine focuses on news and issues pertaining to public libraries and librarianship.[10] It commenced publication in January 1947 under the editorship of Muriel E. Perry of Decatur Public Library.[11][12] Public Libraries Online is the digital companion to the print journal and offers three full articles from each print issue, plus daily updates, interviews, blogging, and other exclusive content. The print magazine is a delayed open access journal; its web companion is free and open to all users.[13] PLA is also responsible for the publication of many key monograph titles in the field of public librarianship.[11]


PLA was formed in 1944 as the Division of Public Libraries of the American Library Association. The first PLA president was Amy Winslow of Cuyahoga County Library.[11] The first Executive Secretary (a position now known as Executive Director) was Julia Wright Merrill.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "PLA Mission and Goals". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "About PLA". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "PLA Mission and Goals". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Public Library Association Strategic Plan". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "PLA Frequently Asked Questions". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "PLA Frequently Asked Questions". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "PLA Frequently Asked Questions". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "PLA Board of Directors". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "PLA Committees". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Public Libraries Magazine". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Hughes, K. (2003). Public Library Association. In M. Drake (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science: Vol. 4, 2nd ed. (pp. 2393-6).
  12. ^ "The History of the Public Library Association". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "Public Libraries Online". Public Library Association. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "Julia Wright Merrill (1881-1961)". Wisconsin Library Heritage Center. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 

External links

  • Public Library Association
  • American Library Association
  • Public Libraries Online
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