Concurrent Program Session

Better Together: Civic Engagement and Civic Dialogues

Friday, April 8, 2016, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Colorado Convention Center, Room 707/709/711

Is your library leading an engaged and empowered citizenry? Does your library tackle social justice inequities, solve problems, increase voting, and participate in social and civic organizations? Perhaps you are already at that table, or maybe you are the table where folks gather. Discover how a 21st century library is a cornerstone of democracy, and become inspired by achievable projects happening nationwide. Find out the secret of reaching politicians and government officials to create sustainable change.

At the end of this session, participants will:

1: Recognize the important role public libraries play in civic engagement and dialogue for your unique community.
2: Learn how to make Civic Engagement engaging by following projects, exhibits, and interactive programs as models.
3: Become empowered and motivated to take action within your community.

The session organizer(s) identified this session as appropriate for:
Level 1: People with no previous knowledge of the topic.

This session will have: Low interaction: single speaker/panel with Q&A at the end of the program

Handouts: Download 1   Download 2   Download 3   Download 4   Download 5   Download 6   Download 7  

Track: Collaborate

Tags: Administration/Management


Miriam Anderson Lytle,
Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, IL

Miriam Anderson Lytle, MLIS and PLA Leadership Academy grad, is Community Services & Program Development Division Chief for Gail Borden Public Library District in Elgin, one of Illinois largest library districts. Miriam oversees Branch Services (Rakow and South Elgin), Library on the Go (ReaderShip, Education, Life Enrichment, Home Services), Hispanic Services, Public Programs, Community and Civic Engagement, 21st Century Readers Advisory, grants and special projects. Miriam is a 2016 PLA Program Liaison in Denver.

Susan Benton,
Urban Libraries Council, ,

Susan Benton is President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council (ULC), a membership organization of leading public libraries in North America. With a network of the top library executives in the United States and Canada, ULC articulates the strategic role public libraries serve for strengthening their community in economic and workforce development, learning and education, citizen engagement, health and public safety.

Diana Brawley Sussman, Director
Carbondale Public Library, ,

Diana Brawley Sussman is the Director of the Carbondale Public Library, and co-chair of Nonviolent Carbondale, a coalition that organizes and supports activities that foster nonviolent and compassionate interactions in the community ( She is also on the steering committee for the Sparrow Coalition, a community partnership addressing issues of homelessness and poverty in Southern Illinois ( Her library partners with Southern Illinois University to place an MSW social work intern in the library.

Amita Lonial, Learning Experiences Manager
Skokie Public Library, ,

For questions about…

Cancellation Policy

Written cancellations, requests for refunds, and/or changes will be accepted until February 26, 2016, and are subject to a $30 handling fee. Refunds will be processed after April 25, 2016. According to PLA policy, all meal events require preregistration. The above cancellation/change information also applies to all preconferences, meal events, and tours.

The PLA 2016 Conference is offered on a cost-recovery basis. PLA reserves the right to cancel all or any part of this event if there is insufficient registration or for other reasons. Neither ALA nor PLA is responsible for cancellation charges assessed by the airlines or travel agencies, or other losses incurred due to the cancellation of the workshops. All information listed on this website is subject to change.


PLA has put in place features to ensure the conference is accessible to all.


Special print and electronic advertising opportunities are available to reach PLA members and attendees both before and during the conference.

Appropriate Conduct

All participants are expected to observe the rules and behaviors described in the Statement of Appropriate Conduct in all conference venues, including online venues, and conference social events.


There is no formal dress code at the PLA Conference. What’s most important is to dress for comfort.

Conference Logo

The custom logos of the PLA 2016 Conference are the property of PLA. Anyone wishing to use the logos in their communications and promotional materials must: 1) Seek permission from PLA; and 2) Submit communication/artwork incorporating the logo to PLA for final approval. The logo may not be modified and must be reproduced in its entirety (i.e., no outlines, cropping). To request the use of the logo, companies should contact Carly DiVito at Corcoran Expositions at 312-541-0567 or; all others should contact PLA at 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or


Contact Carly DiVito, Corcoran Expositions, 312-541-0567 or


No carrying of firearms allowed in the Colorado Convention Center unless you’re on-duty law enforcement or off-duty and on payroll of the show or SMG (convention center management).


The official conference hashtag is #PLA2016.


Contact Heather Cho, ALA Media Relations Specialist, 312-280-4020 or Please review our conference media policy.


ALA and PLA membership is managed by the ALA Membership & Customer Service (MACS) unit. To join, renew, rejoin, or add to your membership, fill out a secure form online; or print and fill out a membership form and fax or mail it in; or call 800-545-2433 and press 5. Direct your membership questions to MACS at or 800-545-2433 and press 5. MACS representatives are available Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM Central.

Mobile App

Attendees can access full event schedule, evaluate sessions, customize their own agenda, and compete in the Extraordinary Exhibits photo challenge game on the PLA 2016 mobile app. To request assistance with the mobile app, please e-mail

PLA Office

The PLA Office is located in A Mezzanine in the Colorado Convention Center. You can access the A Mezzanine from any of the lobbies using Elevator A, across from registration, and press the MZ button to get to the Mezzanine. You can also access A Mezzanine from Exhibit Hall A using Stairwell 30. The office phone numbers are 303-228-8450 and 303-228-8451. Onsite office hours are Monday, April 4–Friday, April 8, 8:00 AM–5:00 PM; Saturday, April 9, 8:00 AM–1:00 PM.

Registration & Housing

Onsite registration hours are Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 AM–5:00 PM; Wednesday, April 6, 7:30 AM–6:30 PM; Thursday, April 7, 7:30 AM–5:30 PM; Friday, April 8, 7:30 AM–4:00 PM; and Saturday, April 9, 8:00–10:00 AM. Conference registration and housing is managed by Experient. Call or e-mail your questions, 800-424-5249 (U.S. and Canada), 847-996-5829 (all other countries), or Experient representatives are available Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM Eastern. PLA Conference is a professional event. It is not open to the public.


Contact Corcoran Expositions, Mary Michalik at 312-265-9650,; or Matt McLaughlin at 312-265-9655,

Thank you PLA Conference Sponsors!


Most conference events—including all preconferences and concurrent program sessions—will take place in the Colorado Convention Center (CCC), 700 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202. Additional events will be held at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, 650 15th Street, Denver, CO 80202, and other venues as indicated.

Other Questions

Contact PLA, 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or; or find someone to help in the PLA Staff directory.