PA Forward Star Library Program

The PA Forward Star Library program is a way for public, special, academic, and school libraries in Pennsylvania to unite in a shared vision of helping residents succeed as citizens, parents, students, employers, employees, and consumers.  PA Forward was conceived to give voice to what the library community already knows:  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 of our citizens.  This program allows the Pennsylvania libraries to have recognition for what they do, have a unified voice in legislative budgeting considerations, market their programs to a wider audience, and create community partnerships.

PA Forward is broken down into five literacies (Basic, Information, Civic and Social, Financial, and Health).  Basic Literacy includes helping residents achieve one of the highest literacy rates in the country, a better trained and more skilled workforce, and a growing tax base, economy, and population.  Information Literacy helps all residents learn how to use online resources and current technology to improve their education, to enhance their job skills, and to participate fully in a digital society.  Civic and Social Literacy gives residents of all ages the knowledge and skills they need to improve their lives, to contribute effectively in their communities, and to participate in civil discourse.  Health Literacy plays an important role in helping residents actively manage their own and their family’s well-being, making them effective partners with their health care providers and reducing costs.  Financial Literacy helps residents become informed consumers and guide individuals, small businesses, and other organizations to contribute to the economic vitality of their communities.

Libraries can earn different stars to show their support of the PA Forward initiative.  There is one Bronze star, five Silver stars, and one Gold star available.  To earn the Bronze star, libraries have to complete five core actions and three bonus actions.  Core actions include watching a webinar, liking the PA Forward Facebook page, including the PA Forward logo on five different library marketing/promotional materials, discussing PA Forward at a staff meeting, and submitting a library event to the PA Forward best practices database.  Once a library signs up for the Star Library program, they have one year to obtain their Bronze star.  After they receive their Bronze star, the library has one year to start on their Silver stars.  Libraries can earn one Silver star for each of the five literacies (Basic, Information, Civic and Social, Financial, and Health).  To earn a Silver star, libraries have to complete four actions for each literacy and one new bonus action.  Actions include having a display featuring the literacy, discussing something related to the literacy in a news article, brochure, or newsletter, discussing something related to the literacy on social media, and identifying a new or existing program that supports the literacy.  Working with community partners is highly suggested. After they start working towards their Silver stars, libraries have two years before their Silver stars expire and they will need to start over.  Once a library receives the five Silver stars, they can start to work towards the Gold star.  To earn the Gold star, libraries have to complete four new bonus actions and then have either a staff member or the library become a Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) member.  Gold stars expire after three years.  Bonus actions include hanging a PA Forward poster and window cling in the library, including the PA Forward logo on the library’s website, social media, computer monitor screen, bookmark, and e-mail signature, discussing PA Forward in a press release, including a PA Forward page on the library’s website, putting shelf talkers in the library’s stacks, and discussing PA Forward in a presentation to a stakeholder or board.  Other bonus actions include having a staff member serve on a PA Forward committee, attending a literacy summit, discussing PA Forward in a scholarly article, and present at a PA Forward workshop.

The Knox Public Library signed up for the Star Library program in November 2017.  We achieved our Bronze star in January 2018.  In late spring 2018, we started working on our Silver stars.  We earned our final Silver Star in March 2019.  We achieved Gold Star status in July 2019.

PA Forward link