The Pennsylvania Library Association recently announced the 2019 fourth quarter PAForward Star Library awardees, and Erie County Public Library was among the recipients. 

Fourteen libraries, including Erie County Public Library, achieved Gold Star Status in this quarter, which is a record number of libraries to achieve this status in any quarter of the three years the program has been in existence.

Additionally, more than 30 libraries from throughout the state earned their star status and are being recognized by the Association for their efforts to provide patrons with educational resources and opportunities.   

“The PA Forward Star Library program spotlights libraries’ efforts to continue making intentional investments in literacy-aligned programs,” said Christi Buker, Pennsylvania Library Association executive director. “Our libraries continue to be community pillars, meeting citizen needs, helping businesses, government organizations and others connect with residents, sharing resources and information which have the potential to positively impact multiple lives.

“Yes, you can go to your local library and check out books, but these agile institutions demonstrate day in and day out they offer more than books,” Buker added. “Libraries offer the world to those who enter their doors. It is an honor to highlight those efforts with the PA Forward Star Library designation. Congratulations to all of our participating Star Libraries.”  

PA Forward, which launched statewide in 2012, works through five key literacies – Basic, Information, Civic & Social, Health and Financial – to assist individuals in enhancing their overall quality of life. To continue helping libraries use PA Forward to demonstrate all their libraries offer, in January 2017, the Association kicked off the Star Library program statewide. The Star Library recognition offers support to libraries who participate and integrate PA Forward’s literacies in their programming activities. Program topics can include information such as retirement planning (financial literacy) to more physically active programs such as walking book club discussions (civic and social literacy and health literacy).

Libraries are recognized for meeting benchmarks within the bronze, silver and gold star levels of the program. While one star is awarded for both the bronze and gold levels, a total of five stars are awarded in the silver category – one silver star for each of the five literacies of PA Forward. 

For each silver star award, a number appears denoting the number of silver stars obtained to date.

Stars are awarded on a quarterly basis in the calendar year and the recognition is for the highest level attained in the program at the time of the award. 

Beginning January 2020, once a library achieves the Gold level of the PA Forward Star Library program, libraries will now be able to take steps to maintain their PA Forward Gold Star status. More information about that process can be found at www.paforwardstarlibraries.org under the Getting Started tab. 

The next round of awards will be announced after March 31, 2020.

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