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Libraries are more than a place to conduct research or to complete assignments. They house more than shelves of books and multi-media devices. Libraries are integral parts of our societies, serving as hubs for activity and engagement, adding value to their communities.
Our libraries envision a Pennsylvania where citizens know how to use online resources and current technology to improve their education, to enhance their job skills, and to fully participate in a digital society.
PA Forward® is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Library Association that highlights libraries’ role in moving Pennsylvania forward. Libraries are key to powering progress, elevating the quality of life by fueling the types of knowledge essential to its success:
In January 2017, the Pennsylvania Library Association’s PA Forward® Initiative launched its PA Forward® Star Library Program.
The PA Forward® Star Library Program requires libraries to “brand” their programs and communications and to talk with their communities about how libraries across the Commonwealth are moving PA Forward®.
There are several steps to becoming a PA Forward® Star Library requiring libraries to submit documentation of their efforts, which is reviewed and verified by a committee of peer librarians. Those steps demonstrate that the library has incorporated the five key literacies into their programming and communication.
The PA Forward® Star Library program awards a bronze, silver, or gold star to a library as it adapts and integrates the initiative’s core values.
This level demonstrates that a library has adopted the core literacy terminology, and it is using that language in its communication plan. The library is making the public aware of its programming and services. The library is taking part in the training and taking advantage of the PA Forward® free resources made available by the Pennsylvania Library Association.
A silver star is awarded to a library when it demonstrates that it has carried out quality programming in an essential literacy. A library can receive one silver star in each of the essential literacy areas.
A gold star is awarded once a library has achieved the Bronze Star and Silver Star status in each of the five literacies, and has shown how it has fully integrated the PA Forward® Initiative into its programming curriculum and a commitment to providing the programming fuel to move PA Forward®.
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When a library displays their bronze, silver, or gold level star, visitors to that library can be assured that the star has meaning. It means the library has gone through training and developed its programming to further its support of the five essential literacies outlined in the PA Forward® Initiative. It also means that its programming was reviewed and verified by a committee of library peers and that those peers have recognized the quality of its programming by granting the library its star level.
PA Forward® is implemented on the local level. Each library decides what fuel their communities need. The initiative does not mandate any specific programs, collections, or communication methods; it provides support and contacts for the local library to develop partnerships with the subject matter experts available in their community.
PA Forward® is guided by the Pennsylvania Library Associations commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. It also is committed to the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights and the American Library Association’s Statement of Professional Ethics.