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, implemented 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.)

NILPPA: Phase 1, conducted in collaboration with New Knowledge Organization Ltd., a social science think tank, brought 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 disseminated 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. The findings are summarized in the NILPPA: Phase 1 white paper.

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 Knology

Knology (formerly New Knowledge Organization Ltd.) is a non-profit research organization that produces practical social science for a better world. The organization pursues this goal to help professionals in a variety of sectors build inclusive, informed, and cooperative societies that can thrive together with the natural systems on which we all depend. As a transdisciplinary collective of over 30 social scientists, writers, and educators, the organization’s work process is built on equity, transparency, and deliberation. For years, Knology’s team has collaborated on research and evaluation initiatives for the library field, particularly in the area of public programs. John Fraser PhD AIA, President & CEO, and Rebecca Joy Norlander PhD, Researcher, lead the NILPPA research. Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein, PhD, is researcher. Beverly Sheppard, Research Fellow, and Kate Flinner, Manager of Communications, lead the communication efforts for the initiative. For more information about each of these team members, visit the team page.


This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant number LG-96-17-0048-17 and 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.