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2021 Public Library Staff & Diversity Survey

by Sara Goek, Program Manager, Public Library Association, sgoek@ala.org on December 10, 2021

PLA invites all US public libraries to complete the 2021 Public Library Staff & Diversity Survey! The deadline has been extended to January 14, 2022.

Five reasons why your library should complete the survey:

  1. Library leaders need up-to-date and accurate information about staffing and diversity.
  2. Contribute to powerful, actionable, and inspirational results for library staff across the country – and you might even get some ideas for new initiatives for your library from the survey questions.
  3. The result will provide nationally representative data to inform and engage elected officials, the media, and funders to increase awareness of and support for library workers.
  4. Your participation helps PLA create tools, resources, and professional development opportunities that are more useful for you in building and advancing equity in your library.
  5. The 2021 survey data will create a baseline. When this survey is next administered in 2024, we will be able to see how the field has evolved. We will be able to track and share these trends with the profession.

Requests for up-to-date data about staffing and diversity are among the top inquiries PLA receives from public library staff every week. The survey results will help us answer those questions with nationally valid data. The survey asks about staff salaries and hours, roles within the library, staff representation, hiring and retention strategies, and equity, diversity, and inclusion goals and activities.

To complete the survey, login to your library’s free Benchmark account at librarybenchmark.org. Click on “Surveys” in the menu, and you will see this survey listed under “Open Surveys.” Be sure to click “save and submit” at the bottom of the survey form when you have finished entering your responses. If you are not sure of your library’s login details or have any other questions about the survey, please contact plabenchmark@ala.org.

A Benchmark subscription is not required to participate in the survey, view past survey responses, or view key summary metrics. However, all survey participants are eligible for discounted Benchmark subscriptions for access to the full suite of data visualization and reporting tools!

How libraries can use Benchmark:

  1. Analyze key library metrics – including expenditures, staffing, collections, services, and more – over time for your library, peer libraries, and all libraries nationwide.
  2. Peer comparisons have never been so simple. The dynamic charts and graphs help libraries better understand their performance compared to their peers and can support everyday decision making.
  3. Illustrate library activities and usage in an engaging and compelling fashion for different audiences.
  4. Use the prepared charts or create your own tables with the data you need for reports, budget justifications, grant writing, fundraising, and more.

More information about Benchmark is available on the PLA website. In case you missed it, you can also view a recording of a free webinar we offered on November 8, 2021, “Introducing Benchmark.”

Questions? Please contact plabenchmark@ala.org.


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