What's New at PA Forward®

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Statewide Program Shines Bright as Libraries Throughout PA Gain Star Status

PA Forward® Star Library Program helps libraries provide literacy
programming in local communities

Mechanicsburg, PA (April 3, 2017) – Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) kicked off a statewide launch of the Star Library Program. Roughly two dozen libraries recently received their stars and are now officially recognized as PA Forward® Star Libraries.

“The response to this program has been nothing short of amazing,” said Christi Buker, PA Library Association Executive Director. “When you conceptualize a new program, and test it on a small group, you aren’t always sure what the response will be once you take it to the larger audience. In this instance, we absolutely made the right decision to broaden the program. More and more libraries are looking to receive their star and demonstrate their full value to the communities they serve. For the libraries, they are receiving tools and resources that allow them to offer needed programming to their patrons. For our partnering organizations, there is more opportunity to disseminate information and gain facetime with residents and businesses alike. The libraries have become the place to spark needed conversations and interactions. It’s a true win-win.” 

PA Forward® works through five key literacies – Basic, Information, Civic & Social, Health and Financial – to assist all residents in enhancing their overall quality of life. In 2015, one of the PA Library Association’s Academy of Leadership Studies (or PALS) cohorts conceived the Star Library Program and the more the program took form, the more they realized the potential for a longer-term opportunity. 

“The Star Library Program went statewide at the beginning of the year,” Buker added. “This program has truly lit a fire within our libraries as they are finding more ways to connect with their patrons and are excited to offer programs they may not have thought of offering previously, and connecting with local resource partners. These programs help our citizens become more informed, suggesting they would likely become more involved in their local areas. There is a real value here.” 

The Star Library recognition offers support to libraries who participate and incorporate the literacies in their programming activities. Those libraries are recognized for meeting benchmarks within the bronze, silver and gold star levels of the program.
Examples of the types of programs libraries offer patrons include those such as Cursive Club and Reading Clubs (Basic Literacy); Social Media for Seniors and Staying Safe Online (Information Literacy); Mock Trial and Mock Election programs (Civic & Social Literacy); Healthy Food Choices Storytime and Community Blood Drive (Health Literacy); and Children and Money and Identity Theft (Financial Literacy.) 

Below is a listing of those libraries awarded their PA Forward® Star status in the first quarter of this year’s program:  

Bronze Star Level

 Abington Community Library – Lackawanna County 
• Cambria County Library – Cambria County
• Chippewa Branch Library – Beaver County 
• Easttown Library – Chester County
• Emmaus Public Library – Lehigh County 
• Frackville Free Public Library – Schuylkill County
• Free Library of Northampton Township – Bucks County 
• Hollidaysburg Area Public Library – Blair County 
• Huntingdon County Library – Huntingdon County
• Indiana Free Library – Indiana County 
• Madigan Library at Penn College – Lycoming County 
• Muhlenberg Community Library – Berks County 
• Peters Township Public Library – Washington County 
• St. Mary’s Public Library – Elk County 
• Summerville Public Library – Jefferson County 
• Upper Merion Township Public Library – Montgomery County 
• Warminster Township Free Library – Bucks County 

Silver Star Level
• Altoona Area Public Library (5th Star) – Blair County
• Claysburg Area Public Library (1st Star) – Blair County 
• Easton Area Public Library (1st Star) – Northampton County
• Grove Family Library (5th Star) – Franklin County 
• North Pocono Public Library (2nd Star) – Lackawanna County 
• Osterhout Free Library (5th Star) – Luzerne County 
• Pittston Memorial Library (1st Star) – Luzerne County
• Tyrone-Snyder Public Library (1st Star) – Blair Community

Gold Star Level
• Tunkhannock Public Library – Wyoming County  

Libraries working toward their star status can submit their documentation by visiting  www.paforwardstarlibraries.org.  Follow the prompts to create an account and review the submission instructions. More information about PA Forward® and the Star Library Program is also available at  www.palibraries.org. Once there, click on the “Get Involved” tab and then click on “PA Forward®.” Also feel free to contact Brandi Hunter-Davenport, PA Forward® Project Manager, at 717-766-7663 or [email protected]

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PA Forward® is sponsored, in part, by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.