College’s Madigan Library Part of ‘Star’-Quality Statewide Initiative

Published 10.28.2016


Highlighting Pennsylvania libraries and their role in powering progress throughout the commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Library Association announced the January rollout of the PA Forward Star Library Program during its annual state conference earlier this month.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Madigan Library is among the participants in next year’s statewide launch of the initiative.

“The Star Library Program is designed to showcase libraries, to create opportunities to make connections with local communities and stakeholders, and to demonstrate how libraries are truly integral to the progress and future of Pennsylvania and our residents,” said Christi Buker, executive director of the Pennsylvania Library Association. “PA Forward provides the framework that gives a collective voice to libraries throughout the state. This new program will take PA Forward to the next level and, in turn, showcase and reinforce the value our libraries provide to communities and to our individual development.”

Penn College’s Madigan Library is among the participants in the statewide launch of the Pennsylvania Library Association’s PA Forward Star Library Program.The Star Library program was developed by one of the association’s 2015 Pennsylvania Academy of Leadership Studies groups as its class project. The more team members conceptualized the project, the more they realized it had potential for long-term impact.

The group developed three tiers – Bronze, Silver and Gold – outlining various actions for achievement within each level under the PA Forward umbrella.

“In developing this recognition, we realized libraries are already offering programming that aligns with PA Forward – and they may not realize it,” said Joann Eichenlaub, assistant director of the Madigan Library and member of the 2015 PALS class. “By adding the Star Library tag, we hope to help them connect with PA Forward even more, aiding them in strengthening state support and leveraging local support for their programs and services.”

The Star Libary Program addresses five key literacies.Eichenlaub said the Madigan Library already offers displays and programming that incorporate five types of literacy that build essential life skills to enhance every individual’s overall quality of life: Those key literacies are Basic, Information, Civic and Social, Health, and Financial.

The North Central Library District – which comprises Bradford, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties – tested the pilot program this past spring; 19 of the district’s 40 libraries participated, and 13 have already achieved their Gold Star.

Among those at the top level is James V. Brown Library in downtown Williamsport, an early adopter of the Star Library Program.

Other libraries interested in taking part can begin work toward that status in November, but will not be able to submit materials for consideration until the program officially launches with the new year.

The Madigan Library will begin submitting its documentation to be recognized as a Bronze Star library, Eichenlaub said, with the ultimate goal being achievement of the Gold Star level. Some of the actions to attain Bronze recognition include putting up decals and posters; another is to submit a library activity to the PA Forward Commons (a database of libraries sharing their events and displays).

The Bronze level demonstrates the library is integrating PA Forward into existing displays and activities, and is actively engaged in promoting and supporting the PA Forward principles.

“We couldn’t have imagined the pilot would be as successful as it was,” said June Houghtaling, North Central Library District consultant. “Many of those pilot libraries didn’t want the program to end and wanted to keep working toward even more star levels. Then, news of the pilot spread, and more libraries wanted to be involved. We can’t wait to get this program on board statewide, engaging even more libraries in the PA Forward movement.”

PA ForwardPA Forward was conceived to give voice to what the library community already knows, and what other states throughout the nation are recognizing: With the right support, libraries are ideally positioned to become the community centers of information, technology and learning that will fuel educational and economic opportunity for all.

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