When you visit the library, you see PA Forward logos, “Literacy is Power” posters and our staff wearing “Literacy is Power” t-shirts. As you drop off your books, you notice a certificate designating Lower Macungie Library as a “Silver Star Library”. What does this all mean?
PA Forward/Pennsylvania Libraries is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Library Association (of which LML is a member). The program was created to give voice to our communities how libraries have become the community centers of information, technology, and learnings, which fuels educational and economic opportunity for all citizens.
As the Pennsylvania Library Association writes, “Libraries are no longer just buildings that house books. Today’s libraries are agile institutions serving real-life needs. They hold the key to powering progress and elevating the quality of life through Basic Literacy, Information Literacy, Civic and Social Literacy, Health Literacy and Financial Literacy.” What does this mean for our library? The initiative encourages us to look at our programs and services in a different light. Are we providing programs and services that benefit our community? Do we provide programs and services to foster life-long learning, and workforce development?
Our message to our community is this…. We provide a vital community service that positively impacts our residents. How? Through our many programs and resources, Lower Macungie Library encourages literacy from cradle to grave. Children’s programming focuses on basic literacy skills, instilling a love of reading and learning in the youngest of participants. Teens meet in a safe environment where they can explore the world, achieve academic success and prepare for a successful future. Adults of all ages can access information to grow professionally and personally and can connect with other community members.
According to a 2006, statewide survey of Pennsylvania concluded that for every $10 invested in public libraries, $55 is returned to Pennsylvania taxpayers. If public libraries did not exist, the study said, the economic loss to our communities across the Commonwealth would total nearly $1.34 billion. That’s 5.5 times what is dedicated annuals in local, state, and federal taxes for public libraries.
So the next time you stop in, check on our progress as a PA Forward Library as we work toward a gold star!