Library workers see the impact of public programming every day — from children developing comprehension skills through summer reading programs to older adults finding companionship and learning new skills through arts classes.

But what characterizes a good public program? What training do library workers need to create and put on the best programming? What does excellence in library programming look like, and how can library workers and their partner organizations achieve it together?

Together, the American Library Association (ALA) and Knology, a social science research nonprofit, are working to document the characteristics, audiences, outcomes, and value of U.S. library public programming through the National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA).

Since 2014, ALA and Knology have brought together a network of researchers, practitioner-researchers, and advisors to:

Project Timeline

About ALA

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. NILPPA is a project of ALA’s Public Programs Office, which empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation and connection in communities of all types.

About Knology

Knology is a non-profit research organization with a mission of practical social science for a better world. Knology’s approach to research is not just theoretical — we work alongside highly networked, national organizations (including media creators, libraries, museums, game developers, and community groups) to simultaneously study and solve real world challenges in real time. Through research, evaluation, convenings, and capacity building workshops, our transdisciplinary team of over 20 social scientists, writers, and educators helps professionals improve their ability to facilitate understanding and advance public conversation. Our work yields new and refined practices partners can use to deepen their social impacts and build more inclusive, informed, and cooperative societies that thrive together with the natural systems on which we all depend.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. They advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS’ vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through grants LG-250153-OLS-21, LG-96-17-0048-17 and LG-62-13-0210-13, and by funding from the ALA Cultural Communities Fund.