January 22, 2018

PLA Gets $7.7M Gates Grant for Advocacy Training

By Lynn Blumenstein

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a $7.7 million grant to the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association, to offer a national advocacy training program over three years for public librarians. The program will prepare librarians to remind the public that libraries offer vital services. "It is imperative that all librarians and library supporters learn to position their public library as an essential community resource in ways that resonate with local stakeholders and result in increased local funding," said Jill Nishi, program manager of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Libraries initiative.

Grant recipients will be trained in sessions offered around the country, as well as online and during the PLA National Conference and the PLA Spring Symposium. Locally customized trainings will help participants create advocacy plans relevant to their particular local political and economic environment. Each participant will also receive the PLA publication Libraries Prosper with Passion, Purpose and Persuasion: A PLA Toolkit for Success, which offers step-by-step advice on advocacy. Participants will be able to access an online community to learn from original content and managed discussions, and also to get support for local campaigns