Penn State Fayette library expands programming to enrich literacies

PA Forward® | Pennsylvania Library Association

PA Forward® | Pennsylvania Library Association

Credit: PA Forward® | Pennsylvania Library Association

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — The library at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus is working to secure a Silver Star designation from the PA Forward program, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Library Association.

The PA Forward initiative was developed in 2017 to expand library access to all citizens; strengthen services through state, local, and private support; provide more databases at a lower cost; contribute to workforce development; and highlight the importance of libraries and librarians.

According to the website, the campaign enriches university libraries by “strengthening the public’s perception that academic institutions provide great benefits to their local communities by sharing resources and services with the community as well as students and faculty.”

The Penn State Fayette library currently holds a Bronze Star designation, representing its adoption of core literacy terminology, marketing of programming and services, and participation in PA Forward training.

To receive a Silver Star designation, libraries must incorporate five key literacies into their programming and communication -- including basic literacy, information literacy, civic and social literacy, health literacy, and financial literacy. Libraries must then submit documentation of these efforts to be reviewed by a committee of peer librarians.

“These are five literacies that impact every citizen, whether positively or negatively,” said Emma Beaver, head librarian at Fayette. “These are five parts of every person’s life that can alter and change the way they view the world around them. Whether you’re in our campus community or local community, the Penn State Fayette library has a unique set of resources at our disposal.”

The campus library has added a calendar of events to enrich Basic Literacy, including book talks from faculty and visiting authors, read-a-thons, writing contests, and collection development.

In service of Information Literacy and Financial Literacy, the library offers resources to help patrons read the news, conduct research, locate facts and reliable sources, create budgets and manage credit, and make critical consumer decisions, such as selecting health insurance.

Cultural programming, such as film presentations, pop-up exhibits and poster displays, and faculty lectures contribute to Civic and Social Literacy. “Our goal is to help students understand their overall place in the world and develop their feelings about it,” said Beaver.

To satisfy the Health Literacy requirement, the library collaborates with the Campus Mental Health Counselor, Amanda Collins, as well as the athletic department, to offer educational series and materials, as well as expanded services, such as lending out light therapy lamps for seasonal affective disorder.

“We are stronger in collaboration than we are alone,” said Beaver. “As a library staff, we are experts at finding information, but one of our strengths is being able to bring in the appropriate expert.”

This semester, the Penn State Fayette library has hosted an interactive open house for students and faculty, bi-monthly game nights utilizing virtual reality technology, and a series of educational yard signage about cardiovascular health.

A number of events are open to the community this fall. A Smithsonian poster exhibit, “Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II,” will be on display through the end of the year, as will an interactive exhibit, “Blackout Poetry,” which invites visitors to create poems from source material. Additionally, the library will hold an all-day Halloween Read-a-Thon on Oct. 25.

The Penn State Fayette library is open Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 724-430-4155.