Public Libraries Advisory Committee – July–December 2024 Report

The group met 4-6 times this reporting period.

After reviewing the current PLA Strategic Plan, please tell us:

Describe the current work of this committee and how it supports our strategic goals. Include work accomplished, decisions made, and any recommended follow-up actions.
This year to date, the committee work has included advising the editor on the editorial direction of the magazine- including planning the editorial calendar for the year, identifying subject matter experts, and helping to recruit knowledgeable and diverse content contributors. The committee further advises on and continuously reviews the regularly appearing content. This includes reviewing the column descriptions, considering whether the description is being met and recommending further action if needed. Recommendations this year include instituting a new regular column that targets readers from small and rural areas. The committee created a description for the new column, and a description of the volunteer opportunity, and will soon begin reviewing applications. This year’s other recommendations included implementing a two-year term for regular contributors.

The committee also provides valuable insights from the field and guidance on PL’s overall content strategy across platforms including PL magazine, Public Libraries Online, and the FYI Podcast. The committee is instrumental in keeping the Public Libraries Online updated and relevant to the field. Further, the committee spends time discussing marketing and publicity strategies, and ways to increase advertising. The committee is in the process of choosing the feature article award winners from the 2023 volume year.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (EDISJ):
The committee's focus on advising content and design with an embedded understanding of EDISJ principles, ensures that the editorial practices and content of Public Libraries (and related properties) reflect a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. By featuring a wide range of topics, best practices, and success stories, Public Libraries media expose readers to diverse perspectives within the library profession. This exposure encourages ongoing learning as readers gain insights from different approaches and experiences.

The committee's tasks related to identifying trends, recommending story ideas, and monitoring the online platform contribute to the transformation goal by keeping Public Libraries (and related properties) dynamic, responsive to evolving needs, and relevant to the concerns of the field. The committee works to ensure that Public Libraries (and related properties) keep readers informed about current trends, innovations, and emerging issues in the library field. Staying updated on these aspects is essential for professional growth, enabling readers to adapt to new technologies, changing community needs, and evolving best practices.

Professional Growth:
The committee works to curate thought-provoking articles, interviews with industry leaders, and expert opinions within Public Libraries and its related properties. By providing readers with exposure to diverse perspectives and cutting-edge ideas, we aim not only to disseminate knowledge but also to cultivate critical thinking. This deliberate engagement with thought leadership stimulates professional growth, inspiring readers to explore new approaches and embrace different viewpoints, fostering a culture of continuous learning and development within the library profession.

Public Libraries, along with its affiliated properties, serves as a platform for advocacy, spotlighting and championing the significant endeavors taking place within libraries. The exposure to impactful advocacy initiatives and effective leadership strategies within the pages of our publications, blog, and/or podcast, aim to inspire readers to advocate for their libraries, and actively contribute to positive transformations within their communities. The committee diligently works to ensure the seamless integration of this objective.

Organizational Excellence:
The committee's work in advising on all aspects of PL and related properties contribute to the goal of organizational excellence. By working toward excellence and identifying areas for improvement, the committee supports the overall health and effectiveness of the organization.

In summary, the committee's work aligns closely with the organization's strategic goals of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice; Transformation; Professional Growth; Advocacy; and Organizational Excellence. The tasks undertaken contribute to the overall advancement of these goals within the context of the organization's mission and values.

Do you see opportunities to better align committee work with those goals?
Absolutely, the committee takes a fluid and adaptable approach to ensure that our work aligns seamlessly with the organization's strategic goals. Our commitment lies in actively seeking opportunities to enhance this alignment continuously. By staying agile and responsive, we aim to not only meet but exceed the expectations set by the strategic goals, ensuring that our contributions contribute effectively to the overarching mission and vision of the organization. One way to better align with the organization’s strategic goals is to be in periodic reviews to assess the alignment of the committee's activities with the organization's strategic goals. This ensures that the committee remains on track and can make adjustments as needed.

What recommendations do you have for in-coming committee members? Are there particular streams of
work in progress to be carried over into the new committee year?
(January–June reporting period only)

What specific activities will this committee undertake over the next six months to support that alignment? (July–December reporting period only)

Are there other PLA or ALA committees whose partnership and collaboration would accelerate meeting PLA strategic goals?
PL Advisory Committee invites and welcomes content from all PLA or ALA committees that would advance the strategic goals of our organization.

Is there anything else about your committee experience you’d like to share?
This committee is a group of dedicated individuals that put a lot of thought and effort into making Public Libraries (and related properties) relevant, useful and applicable for all public librarians. It's been a pleasure to serve on this committee.

Submitted by Amy Dissmeyer on 01/10/2024