ALA/Public Library Association News

Last month the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), launched new survey and a newly-released portal in which to complete it and view results. This supports PLA’S ongoing efforts to provide public libraries with tools for data-driven leadership.

By now, libraries may have received invitations to participate in the 2021 Public Library Staff and Diversity Survey. PLA has invited all public libraries to complete this survey to help understand public library staff roles, hiring and retention practices, and equity, diversity, and inclusion work. The survey was developed by PLA’s Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment Committee in response to field-wide discussions and demand for actionable data about evolving staff roles and diversity and inclusion efforts.

Access the survey through PLA’s new data tool, Benchmark: Library Metrics and Trends. This tool, which replaces the Public Library Data Service (PLDS), reduces redundancy in data collection and capture, and allows libraries to use peer comparisons to better understand library performance. It complements the results of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Public Library Survey data. Log-in credentials can be obtained by emailing

According to the website,

All public libraries have free access that allows them to:

View a summary page with selected metrics and visualizations for the library, its primary peer group, and all libraries nationwide.

See the library’s responses submitted to past PLA and PLDS surveys.

View and complete open surveys.

Manage the library’s contact information and contact preferences to ensure your library receives invitations to participate in future surveys.

Access resources about the data, the surveys, and how to use Benchmark.

Additional features can be accessed by subscribers to the tool. Public library subscriptions cost $400 annually, with discounts available for PLA members and survey participants.

More information about the development and benefits of the Benchmark tool can be found in this press release from ALA.

As a state agency, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) does not promote or discourage participation in this survey or tool. Libraries are encouraged to take advantage of whatever sources of research, data, and information that assist their marketing and advocacy efforts.