About NILPPA

In May 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded a National Leadership Grant to the American Library Association (ALA) for a research project to understand and document the characteristics, audiences, outcomes and value of U.S. library public programming.

The resulting project, National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA): Phase I, implements the first research recommendation that came out of an IMLS National Leadership planning grant in 2014. (Read ALA’s December 2014 white paper that shares findings from the planning grant.)

The first-of-its-kind project, conducted in collaboration with New Knowledge Organization Ltd., a social science think tank, brings together a network of researchers, practitioner-researchers and advisors to answer two questions: How can we characterize and categorize public programs offered by libraries today? And what competencies and training are required for professionals working with library programming?

Working with a talented and experienced committee of advisors, ALA and NewKnowledge will disseminate a series of surveys to library practitioners to help map the existing landscape of library public programming, including program types, topics, formats, audiences, partner relationships and current competencies, and also to identify those skills required in the field that, perhaps, are not being adequately taught in formal learning settings. Findings will be disseminated via a white paper at the end of NILPPA: Phase I, in 2019.

Questions? Comments? Contact ALA’s Public Programs Office at publicprograms@ala.org.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. ALA’s mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. NILPPA is a project of ALA’s Public Programs Office, which promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service and helps libraries excel as community cultural centers by providing librarians with leadership, resources and support.

About NewKnowledge

New Knowledge Organization Ltd. (NewKnowledge) is a nonprofit that empowers change-makers with interdisciplinary social science research so they can create a society where all people live to their greatest potential in harmony with a thriving biosphere. The organization is committed to a pluralistic approach to all its work, with a staff of 26 drawn from a broad range of academic backgrounds, life and work experiences. John Fraser PhD AIA, President & CEO, and Rebecca Norlander PhD, Researcher, lead the NILPPA research. Beverly Sheppard, Research Fellow, and Kate Flinner, Manager of Communications, lead the dissemination efforts for library work. Elizabeth (Liz) Danter, PhD, Researcher, and Julie Aromi, MLIS, Librarian, provide support for the initiative. For more information about each of these team members, visit the website.


This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant number LG-62-13-0210-13, and by funding from the ALA Cultural Communities Fund.


This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, 94104.


Photography by Thomas Alleman, Blossom Blue Photography, Jason Brown, Anne Hamersky, Mark McDonald, and Chris Savas.