Mountain Plains Library Association (MPLA)

Mountain Plains Library Association (MPLA)
Mountain Plains Library Association
Alt text
Abbreviation MPLA
Motto Big Horizons, Close Community
Formation 1948
Type Non-profit
Purpose/focus "To promote the development of librarians and libraries by providing significant educational and networking opportunities to members from the twelve-state region."[1]
Headquarters Lakewood, Colorado
Location Lakewood, Colorado
Region served United States
Membership 523 personal members, 56 institutional members; and 13 honorary and life members (July 2010)
Executive Secretary Judy Zelenski
President Eileen Wright
Main organ MPLA Newsletter
Budget $76,000 (April 2010)[2]
Staff 3

The Mountain Plains Library Association (MPLA) is a non-profit organization based in the western United States that promotes the development of librarians and libraries by providing significant educational and networking opportunities to members. Modeled on the Pacific Northwest Library Association, MPLA brings together librarians and those involved in libraries from across a region unique to the United States. The MPLA region can be characterized as sparsely peopled, with densely populated urban areas widely separated from one another, often divided by vast areas of prairie grassland or mountain ranges. Librarians serving this “subhumid and thinly populated” area share common challenges related to the unique geographical realities of the region [3]



Founded at a meeting in Estes Park, Colorado by librarians from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas and Wyoming, the Mountain Plains Library Association was from the very first designed to facilitate regional American Library Association meetings. Within three days a temporary constitution had been drafted, Ralph T. Esterquist was elected president and Ruth V. Tyler was elected vice-president/president-elect. Thus, on 31 August 1948, the Mountain Plains Library Association was born [4]


MPLA membership is open to librarians, library paraprofessionals and friends of libraries. Individuals and institutional memberships are available. Activities and the majority of members fall within the twelve-state member region, but individual members can hail from anywhere.

Governing structure

The MPLA is governed by an elected board of representatives from each member state and a number of sections and roundtables representing interests and types of libraries. Officers making up the executive board are the current president, vice-president/president-elect, past president, and a recording secretary. In addition to its board and its officers, MPLA activities are carried out by a number of committees and an executive secretary.


MPLA provides continuing education opportunities in the form of meetings and workshops, provides professional development grants to members, and, since 2001, has held a Leadership Institute for up to 30 participants. Annual conferences have included a scholarly research forum since the early 1950s. The Association has sponsored numerous publications focusing on inter-library cooperation, literacy and the humanities, librarianship and technology in the Mountain Plains region [5]


The following awards are presented at each annual conference (from the website):
Carl Gaumer Library Champion Award: Recognizes an individual, organization or company whose positive support of the Mountain Plains Library Association is demonstrated by repeated conscientious endeavors towards libraries, library staff, trustees and professional activities.
MPLA Distinguished Service Award: Recognizes an MPLA member who has made notable contributions to the library profession or has furthered significant development of libraries in the Mountain Plains region, or has performed exemplary service for an extended period of time. In the case of retired individuals, the nominee may be a past member of MPLA.
MPLA Literary Contribution Award: Is presented to an author whose published writings have successfully furthered an understanding and appreciation of the Mountain Plains region. The author need not reside in the region, and the selection may be based on either a single work or a body of works. Published works will be evaluated on the basis of literary worth, readability, and evidence of responsible research.
MPLA Beginning Professional Award: Recognizes an MPLA member who, as a librarian/media specialist within the first five years after receiving a library/media masters degree, has made a positive impact on the quality and role of library service. Factors such as innovative programming and planning, use of resources and special projects will be considered.
MPLA Unsung Hero Award: Is presented to any library individual(s) or group(s) in the MPLA region who have worked on a special project that has some significance to a community but which has not been eligible for a library award, or which has for other reasons specified by the nominator not been recognized to the degree that it merits, by any library organization.


The MPLA meets annually in joint conferences with member states on a rotational basis.

Notable members

[Camila Alire], John M. Christ, Jane Kolbe, Laura Makepeace, Carla J. Stoffle, [Ruth Vine Tyler]


Hall, B. “A History of MPLA.” Newsletter 42:5, April 1998.
Hall, B. citing Kraenzel, C. F. in “A History of MPLA.” Newsletter 42:6, June 1998.
Hodgson, J. G. Regional library cooperation in the Rocky Mountain region and the northern Great Plains, 1935-1953. Denver Public Library, 1954.

  1. ^ "MPLA: About the Association". 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ (Kraenzel, C.F. 1948).
  4. ^ (Hall, B. 1998).
  5. ^ (Hodgson, J. G. 1954).

External links

See also

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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