PLA 75th Anniversary Scholarships

Purpose and Criteria

To celebrate PLA’s 75th Anniversary and encourage equity, diversity and inclusion in library leadership, PLA has raised $7,500 to sponsor 15 scholarships for public library staff and library school students to attend the PLA 2020 Conference in Nashville, TN. The scholarships will be divided into three categories, with 5 scholarships given out in each category—library school student scholarships, early career librarian scholarships, and library support staff scholarships.

Early-career Librarian Scholarships

Early-career librarian scholarships aim to provide opportunities for public librarians who have five years or less of post-MLIS experience to learn, network, and develop new skills by attending the PLA Conference for the first time.


  • Equip early-career librarians with tools to provide community-centered and people focused services at their libraries
  • Increase participation of entry-level and minority librarians in PLA professional development trainings
  • Encourage positive interactions between PLA members in order to strengthen membership retention


  • Be a PLA member with five years or less of post-MLIS experience in a public library
  • Never attended a PLA Conference previously
  • Currently employed in a public library

Library Support Staff Scholarships

Library Support Staff Scholarships provide opportunities for public library support staff to expand their professional horizons and share best practices with their peers by participating in the PLA 2020 Conference.


  • Encourage skill development for library support staff so they can better serve their communities and library
  • Connect library support staff from various communities in order to share knowledge and common best practices
  • Increase engagement of library support staff in PLA professional development trainings
  • Provide equitable and inclusive professional development opportunities for library support staff


  • Be a PLA member
  • Currently employed in a public library

Library School Student Scholarships

Library School Student Scholarships provide opportunities for any library science and/or information science students to explore a career in public librarianship and learn about current issues affecting public libraries at the PLA 2020 Conference.


  • Introduce students to PLA professional development offerings
  • Connect students with peers and mentors to help guide their path to a meaningful public library career

Scholarship applicants must be:

  • Be a PLA student member
  • Enrolled at least part-time at an ALA-accredited institution (part-time status as defined by your institution)


Five (5) scholarships in each category will be awarded, to a total of 15 scholarships. Each scholarship will include complimentary early-bird registration (up to a $305 value), and $500 stipend to attend the PLA 2020 Conference, February 25–29, 2020 in Nashville, TN. Cost of preconferences and separately ticketed events is not included.

If a scholarship recipient has already paid to register for the conference, then a refund of their early-bird registration fee (up to $305) will be issued. Cost of preconferences and separately ticketed events is not included.

Awards Committee

The award committee consists of PLA member leaders and PLA staff.

PLA is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all our members and is consistently advocating for equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. In awarding the scholarships, preference will be given to applicants from diverse cultural/ethnic backgrounds and applicants who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community.

The committee will strive to achieve diversity and balance among scholarship recipients and will also consider financial need and geographical location of the applicant. 

The application period for these scholarships has passed. Thank you for your interest. Application deadline was Wednesday, November 6, 2019.

Scholarship recipients will be notified on Friday, November 22, 2019.

Questions about the scholarships? Please contact us.