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September 11, 2018 Letters to the Editor

Libraries have gone through many changes over the past 24 centuries since the Royal Library of Alexandria amassed 400,000 manuscripts. The goal of the community library is no longer to merely preserve texts, but to educate, bring people together to share ideas, and to create future leaders for a stronger community.

A new initiative of the Pennsylvania Library Association, PA Forward, is aimed at helping to accomplish this daunting task by expanding the knowledge base of Pennsylvanians to help Pennsylvania build a better future through job growth, opportunity and community vitality.

Prospect Community Library was eager to join the march towards achieving these goals for the benefit of the surrounding community and its patrons.

Prospect Community Library’s two staff members began their yearlong quest to become the first Butler County public library to achieve PA Forward gold star status last November, when it earned the bronze star. To do this they had to become familiar with the initiative and create a plan that addressed the five targeted literacies: basic, civic/social, financial, health, and information.

While some of the literacies-based programming fit easily into what the library was already providing, such as conducting story times to address basic literacy, other literacies posed more of a challenge. The library’s crafting group worked together to help a teenager donate more than 50 blankets to Project Linus; the cookbook club learned about healthy eating choices while snacking on goodies created from a healthy cooking cookbook; several families braved the snow to attend a college financial aid workshop presented in partnership with the local branch of First National Bank; and adults and children alike were given personal instruction over the summer on how to use the library’s various electronic resources. These accomplishments led to the library being awarded all five of the possible silver stars.

Now on to the last step: gold.

Our communities are our most important resource. Libraries must be flexible so that they can support the ever-changing needs of that resource. Prospect Community Library is thrilled to be part of the PA Forward initiative and will continue to strive to support its community in every way possible. By the end of September, the library hopes to be flying a banner touting its gold star status, something which the whole community can be proud to have achieved. Thank you to all of our patrons for your support.