Cultural Intelligence: A PLA Webinar Series


Cultural Intelligence 3D Word Art

You've heard of IQ and EQ, but what about CQ?

Cultural Intelligence (CQ) refers to our ability to function effectively across national, ethnic, and even organizational cultural boundaries. Cultural Intelligence involves four interdependent skills: Knowledge, Motivation, Interpretation, and Behavior.

Part 1:
Building CQ: Fostering Our Cultural Intelligence

Cultural Intelligence building is a life-long journey, and all can improve their CQ over time. In a world of culture clashes, any effort towards cultural intelligence will make an immediate and effective impact. Relevant to all staff, this first on-demand webinar in the series introduces concepts and actions which shape personal and organizational cultural competencies. The conversation will change perceptions and actions in ways which encourage and nurture.

Improving our CQ makes us better communicators and more gracious actors in our increasingly diverse world. Build your CQ and learn tools you can apply immediately as you cross cultural boundaries.

Originally presented on April 4, 2019.

Part 2:
Applying CQ: Shaping Culturally Intelligent Libraries

The four interdependent CQ skills of Knowledge, Motivation, Interpretation, and Behavior that help individuals function effectively across cultural boundaries can also help organizations to act in culturally intelligent ways. Using concepts introduced in “Building CQ: Fostering Our Cultural Intelligence” as a foundation, this second on-demand webinar in the series makes the leap from “me” to “we.”

The conversation will explore how CQ can shape our libraries’ policies, services, and programs in ways which help our staff and users bridge the culture gaps and cross the cultural boundaries of our ever-changing communities.

Improving our organizational CQ fosters trust in our libraries and makes our libraries more effective community anchors. Build your organizational CQ and learn exercises you can apply immediately as you shape your library’s future.

Each on-demand webinar in this two-part series is available separately, or purchase access to the series at a discount.

Originally presented April 11, 2019.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the "Building CQ: Fostering Our Cultural Intelligence" on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Define CQ and explain the four skills which form the cultural intelligence framework;
  • Identify the impact that holding different values from majority culture have on a person’s experiences and respond effectively; and
  • Determine next steps in their own CQ journey.

At the conclusion of the "Applying CQ: Shaping Culturally Intelligent Libraries" on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Define several models of cultural orientation and explain the role they have in shaping library practices and policies;
  • Identify the impact that holding different values from their library can have on patrons or employees and respond effectively; and
  • Determine next steps in their library’s CQ journey.

Who Should Attend

This on-demand webinar series is intended for all public library staff, including library managers and directors; and other library leaders.


 Marla EhlersTrained by CQ expert Dr. Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim, Marla Ehlers has facilitated multiple workshops on CQ among a variety of learners. Marla most recently presented on cultural intelligence for the Urban Libraries Council and at the California Library Association’s annual conference and has spoken on a variety of other topics at state and national conferences. With over 20 years in libraries and a background in teaching and children’s services, Marla is currently assistant director at the Grand Rapids (MI) Public Library.

Important Registration Information

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Once you’ve registered for this on-demand webinar series, 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 series.

Review the ALA eLearning FAQ if you need more information.


This on-demand webinar series 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 series, 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 series 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 series 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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