Decreasing Barriers to Library Use


A PLA 2020 Virtual Conference On-Demand Session

PLA 2020 Virtual Conference logo. In an effort to respond to the needs of an increasingly diverse community, the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Public Library conducted its first diversity audit. Library staff took a serious look at the diverse needs of the community and created an audit catered to those needs. This session discusses the process and results of an audit of the young adult materials, lessons learned, exciting trends, and great additions to your collection.

Originally presented as part of the PLA 2020 Virtual Conference on February 27, 2020.

This session aligns with the pathway for Public Library Stewards in PLA's Theory of Change for Professional Development. To learn more, please visit

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify potential barriers to library use in your community;
  • Find and develop solutions to barriers; and
  • Consider alternative policies, operations, and programming initiatives that may decrease barriers.

Who Should Attend

This on-demand session is intended for those with no previous knowledge of the topic.


Ann Burlingame is deputy director of the Wake County Public Library System (WCPL). Ann received ALA’s 2015 Peggy Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children. Under Ann's leadership the Every Family Ready to Achieve initiative was implemented in WCPL, which focused on removing barriers to service for vulnerable populations. This initiative included the ABC Craft and Learn program which simulates a Pre-Kindergarten classroom and supports a child's smooth launch to kindergarten.

Katrina Vernon is the senior library manager for facilities and operations at Wake County Public Library System (WCPL). She analyzes data trends to determine areas of growth for the library system, and oversees new building projects and both major and minor renovations for WCPL. Katrina evaluates user experience within the library system's 24 facilities and works to ensure that WCPL's libraries are inviting, comfortable, and safe places.

Sarah Lyon is a lifelong library user, with over fifteen years of experience working in special and public libraries. In her current role as manager for customer experience, she manages Youth Services programming for the library system and oversees locations dedicated to serving vulnerable populations. Sarah’s passions are early literacy, customer service, and connecting citizens to programs and resources that enrich their lives.

Important Registration Information

Log into or create your ALA eLearning account

An ALA eLearning account is required to register. Don’t have an account? Create one for free by going to the “Log in” menu located at the top right corner of your screen. No membership is required to create the account.

Redeem your signup code to complete your registration

Once you’ve registered for this on-demand webinar, a signup code will be added to your ALA eLearning account and emailed to you. Find the signup code on your signup code page, then redeem it on your account’s dashboard to complete your enrollment in this on-demand webinar.

Review the ALA eLearning FAQ if you need more information.


This on-demand webinar is closed captioned in English (United States).

If you have a physical or communication need that may affect your access to this on-demand webinar, please contact us at or 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752) prior to registering so we can attempt to provide appropriate accommodations.

Tech Requirements

To play this on-demand webinar you should use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Edge. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.


This webinar is presented by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).

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