Imagine the Possibilities

Concurrent Program Session

Voter Perceptions: Getting from Awareness to Funding in 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 202 AB

PLA, ALA Office for Library Advocacy and OCLC teamed up to revisit last decade’s seminal “From Awareness to Funding”?research study, to understand current voter perceptions. In this essential program for library leaders, panelists will share key findings and analysis from the new research, provide new details on library super supporters and probable supporters in context with other library trends and research, and offer preliminary recommendations for how advocates can act on these findings.

At the end of this session, participants will:

1: Define who is most likely to use and support public libraries and understand why 2: Recognize barriers to library use and support 3: Gain action steps for applying new insights about library users and supporters in their local community

The session organizer(s) identified this session as appropriate for:
Level 2: People with some knowledge, who want to increase their understanding.

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

Handouts: Download 1   Download 2  

Track: Plan

Tags: Leadership, Advocacy, Leadership, Research and Statistics, Strategic Planning, Trends and Forecasting


Marci Merola, Director, Office for Library Advocacy
American Library Association , Chicago , IL

Marci Merola is Director of ALA's Office for Library Advocacy, providing advocacy resources, tools and support to librarians, staff and advocates at the state and local levels, speaking nationally and internationally on library advocacy, and working to integrate advocacy efforts throughout the association. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from Northern Illinois University and a Masters in Library Science from Dominican University.

Sharon Streams, Director, WebJunction
OCLC Research , Seattle , WA

Sharon Streams is Director of WebJunction, a program of OCLC Research that connects library practitioners to a network of learning resources and opportunities. WebJunction also designs, tests, and scales innovative projects that bolster library staff skills and confidence to address essential community needs. Prior to joining OCLC in 2007, Sharon managed the publishing division of an international engineering society. Sharon is a graduate of Indiana University and a resident of Washington State.

Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries
Multnomah County Library District , Portland , OR

Vailey Oehlke was appointed Director of Libraries for Multnomah County in 2009. A longtime Portland resident, she began her career at the library in 1997. Vailey is committed to helping the library anticipate and respond to changing needs by providing resources, services and spaces that help advance opportunity and equity. She is a past President of the Public Library Association and has served on the boards of PLA and the Urban Libraries Council.

Larra Clark, Deputy Director, PLA and OITP
American Library Association , Chicago , IL

Larra Clark serves as Deputy Director for both the Public Library Association and ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy. Her portfolio includes broadband access and adoption, public library data and research, strategic communications, and national initiatives and partnerships. Larra received her M.S. from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

For questions about…

Cancellation Policy

The PLA 2018 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.

Attendee Cancellation Policy

Written cancellations, requests for refunds, and/or changes will be accepted until February 23, 2018, and are subject to a $30 handling fee. Refunds will be processed after April 23, 2018. According to PLA policy, all meal events require preregistration. The above cancellation/change information also applies to all preconferences, meal events, and tours. No meal tickets will be sold onsite.

Exhibitor Cancellation Policy

All booth space cancellation requests must be received in writing by Show Management (Corcoran Expositions). If space is reduced, the net reduction of space will be treated as a cancellation of that space. If Show Management receives a written request for cancellation of space on or before October 31, 2017, the exhibitor will be eligible for a refund less the nonrefundable deposit of $950 per 100 square feet of exhibit space. For cancellations received after October 31, 2017, exhibitors are liable for 100% of the cost of space.


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


Interested in exhibiting at PLA 2018? Contact Carly DiVito, Corcoran Expositions, at 312-541-0567 or


Contact Macey Morales, Deputy Director, ALA Public Awareness Office, 312-280-4393 or Please review our conference media policy.


ALA and PLA membership is managed by the ALA Membership & Customer Service (MACS) unit. You can join or renew/rejoin/add to your membership using ALA’s secure online form; or you can 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.

Registration & Housing

Problems or questions regarding registration or housing? Contact Experient at or 800-424-5249 (U.S. and Canada)/847-996-5829 (all other countries). Experient representatives are available Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–6:00 PM Eastern.


To discuss PLA 2018 sponsorship opportunities, contact Corcoran Expositions, Mary Michalik at 312-265-9650,; or Matt McLaughlin at 312-265-9655,

Thank You PLA 2018 Conference Sponsors!

Other Questions

Many commonly asked questions are answered in our FAQ. If you don’t find the information you’re looking for, please contact PLA at 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or Or the PLA Staff directory may help you find just the right person to ask.

PLA 2016 Archive

Looking for handouts and other information from the PLA 2016 Conference, which took place April 5–9, 2016 in Denver, CO? The PLA 2016 Conference website has been archived at

View the list of past PLA Conferences from 1983 to present.