What Is PA Forward?

On May 26, 2017 Pennsylvania Library Association awarded Reading Public Library the Gold Star in their PA Forward Initiative.

What is PA Forward

PA Forward is an initiative conceived by the Pennsylvania Library Association.

Identifying five major areas of knowledge where libraries are best positioned to impact, enlighten, invigorate, and educate Pennsylania’s citizens, the PA Forward strategy also highlights how libraries are involving themselves in each literacy.

The five literacies are as follows, with examples of what each might include:

  • Basic Literacy = reading comprehension, English as a second language, early childhood reading
  • Information Literacy = educating on how to locate & evaluate resources online, connecting people with local organizations
  • Civic and Social Literacy = voting, local history
  • Health Literacy = programs on conditions, diet, fitness
  • Financial Literacy = programs about investments, real estate, and financing for higher education

PA Forward’s mission is to make Pennsylvanians aware that libraries are more and more becoming community centers, resource sharing hotspots, and invaluable connections to information beyond books on a shelf.

Reading Public Library proudly advertises its MindPop Adult Programs as its own initiative in imitation of – and in conjunction with – the PA Forward paradigm.

In 2017, PA Forward introduced the Star Library Program.  This three-tiered process (Bronze, Silver, Gold) gives libraries an opportunity to submit to a state-appointed committee of peers evidence of their commitment to the Five Literacies in their programming calendars.

Reading Public Library was awarded Gold Star status on Friday, Mary 26, 2017.  

This ultimate level of achievement in the Star Library program denotes over forty discrete steps have been taken, the majority of which are directly connected to programming concepts.

The Main Library Reference staff, Childrens’ Library, Teen Loft, in conjunction with both the Southeast and Northwest Branches, coordinated to make presentations across all age groups which encompassed the Five Literacies.

To illustrate, here are some examples of what initiatives were undertaken by the library staff members involved in the Star Library Program:

  • Preschool Storytime (Childrens’ Library – Basic Literacy)
  • Educational Opportunity Center (Northwest Branch –Information Literacy)
  • Teens’ Summer Employment Workshops (Teen Loft – Financial Literacy)
  • P.E.A.C.H. Healthy Cooking Classes (Southeast Branch – Health Literacy)
  • Ken Fidler (local author), U.S. Army Veteran, World War II & Korean War (Main Library – Civic & Social Literacy)

To give an indication of what an honor this exclusive award truly is, as of our achieving this status, Reading Public Library is only the sixteenth library in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.