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Who We Are, What We Do, Why It Matters: Our Distinctive Purpose

by on November 10, 2014

PLA Midwinter Institute
Friday, January 30 -8:30 AM-4:00 PM (Lunch Included)
Location: McCormick Place, Room TBD – Event Code: PLA1

Would you like to learn about a simple strategy that will make you, your library, and our profession indispensable for centuries to come? Join in an interactive day (lunch included!) to learn how a growing number of libraries are repositioning themselves as a key component of the education enterprise, alongside schools, colleges, and universities. Implementing this powerful approach is simple. It does not require changing anything we do—only what we say. Library Journal calls this approach “a 21st-century model worthy of study and consideration by every library in America, if not the world.”

Come explore, discuss, and practice proven techniques to:

  • Redefine libraries in a new, innovative way;
  • Align your library with what the community values most: education;
  • Incorporate intuitive, value-enhancing words into your everyday lexicon;
  • Heighten your library’s visibility and stature; and
  • Develop strategies that you can integrate immediately into your work.


Valerie J. Gross, MM, MLS, JD, is President & CEO of Howard County (Md.) Library System (HCLS), a 2013 Library of the Year (Gale, Library Journal). Developing a new vision for libraries, Gross worked with the HCLS Board, staff, funders, politicians, and the community to implement the “libraries = education” approach. She led the transformation of HCLS to its current prominence as a renowned educational institution, alongside the region’s schools, colleges, and universities. Gross has presented 50+ workshops, seminars, webinars, and keynotes, drawing the participation and input of thousands of library professionals from 42 states and more than a dozen counties around the world. Combining these experiences, she authored Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage (ABC-CLIO, 2013).

An educator and attorney for nearly 30 years, Gross holds a Master of Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Master of Library Science from San Jose State University, and a law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. She is a member of the American Library Association, Public Library Association, Maryland Library Association, Leadership Howard County, and California Bar Association.


Advance Registration is open! You can register for this Institute (event code: PLA1) with or without an ALA Midwinter Meeting registration.

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