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Pennsylvania Library Association holds Open Forum for library staff

Posted By Robin Lesher, Friday, March 27, 2020

Pennsylvania Library Association held an open forum on Thursday, March 26.  Find attached the highlights from the forum.  Plans are in the works to have a regular forum during this crisis.  The Pennsylvania Library Association is here to help you deal with the critical issues facing libraries right now.

Highlights from the forum discussion

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Reading Aloud: Fair Use Enables Translating Classroom Practices to Online Learning

Posted By Robin Lesher, Thursday, March 26, 2020

PA Librarians, we are pleased
to share this critical
information courtesy of
Pennsylvania State University.

 A guide to translating classroom practices and taking advantages of new technologies to improve teaching and learning, reach, and equity.


Reading Aloud: Fair Use Enables Translating Classroom Practices to Online Learning


In recent days, as many teachers have faced an abrupt shift to online teaching, there have been questions about how copyright law applies to the translation of classroom-based practices of reading aloud to students to the digital environment. This webinar will explain how copyright law -- specifically fair use -- permits many classroom read-aloud activities to be translated to the digital environment.


Mar 31, 2020 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Libraries to Remain Closed through April 6

Posted By Kimberly Snyder Wise, Monday, March 23, 2020

From the Office of Commonwealth Libraries:

Libraries to Remain Closed at Least Through April 6

In furtherance of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Governor Tom Wolf today issued a stay-at-home order for seven counties: Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.  

In addition, the Secretary of Education extended the closure of all K-12 Pennsylvania schools through at least April 6.

Consistent with the Governor’s order and Secretary Rivera’s closure extension for K-12 schools, and the Public Library Code which grants the Deputy Secretary for Libraries the power and duty to “coordinate a Statewide system of local libraries” (24 PA.C.S. § 9311(b)(5)), the Office of Commonwealth Libraries directs Pennsylvania public libraries to remain closed through at least April 6, 2020.  Specifically:

  1. Operations that provide routine, in-person library services shall cease through at least April 6, 2020.  Routine, in-person library services would be anything that requires an individual member of the public to visit the library or library staff/volunteers to have in-person contact with library users to provide anything that could be construed as routine library services.  Common sense needs to apply. Some examples of routine, in-person library services that may not be provided include permitting library users to:
  • Browse, read, or view materials at the library;
  • Borrow or pick up items at the library (including drive-by or curbside pick-up);
  • Use computers or other technology devices inside the library;
  • Attend programs or meetings sponsored by the library or external groups at the library;
  • Have library materials physically delivered to library users; or
  • Photocopy and fax materials, etc.
  1. Operations requiring personnel to be situated in the library for activities such as administrative or other non-public services shall cease through at least April 6, 2020.
  2. Tasks requiring essential personnel to visit the library to sustain facility integrity, security of collections, or continuity of operations (e.g. such as preparing and issuing payroll checks/deposits or paying urgent invoices) must be restricted to the absolute minimum number of people necessary
  3. Any employee deemed essential for the completion of necessary tasks in Number 3 above shall at all times carry out their duties consistent with the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines on aggressive social distancing.

The only other exception to this directive that may apply is a circumstance where a public library is working in cooperation with local emergency management officials to provide essential services needed by the community (i.e. food distribution, blood donations) during this period.  In such an instance, the library may remain open with essential personnel to provide these services but not for any other purposes than those referenced in Number 3 above.

Staff Activities and Compensation

The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries strongly recommends that:

  1. Consistent with the Governor’s order, virtual and telework operations are encouraged, and whenever possible, such operations should be considered.  Staff could work on special projects or provide enhanced remote services such as:
    • Increased provision of E-content (eBooks, eAudios, streaming services, etc.);
    • Online programming, especially in support of students and families affected by school closures and those with special needs such as people who are living in isolation;
    • Online reference services through chat, email, etc. (Your library may wish to consider using staff time to support Chat with a Librarian services offered through POWER Library.);
    • Making Wi-Fi services available beyond the library’s walls;
    • Facilitating community meetings through the library’ virtual meeting technology; or
    • Posting on social media to engage with the community.
  2. All library workers should receive fully paid leave, including health coverage while libraries are closed.

However, all personnel decisions shall remain a local library board’s decision. 

Tags:  COVID-19  Library Closures 

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All non-life-sustaining businesses in PA must close today

Posted By Christi Buker, Thursday, March 19, 2020

From Governor Wolf's press release -

Wolf Administration Orders Closure of Non-Life-Sustaining Businesses at 8 p.m. Today, March 19
Enforcement Actions for Restaurant, Bar Dine-In Closure Began at 8 p.m., March 18
Enforcement Actions for Non-Compliance will Begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21

Governor Tom Wolf today ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. today, March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21.

Gov. Wolf’s order is here.  (SELECTED EXCERPT BELOW)

No person or entity shall operate a place of business in the Commonwealth that is not a life sustaining business regardless of whether the business is open to members of the public. This prohibition does not apply to virtual or telework operations (e.g., work from home), so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are followed in such operations.

A video statement from Gov. Wolf is here.
Sec. of Health’s order is here.
A list of life-sustaining businesses is here.

In extenuating circumstances, special exemptions will be granted to businesses that are supplying or servicing health care providers.


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PaLA - please use email to contact us.

Posted By Christi Buker, Monday, March 16, 2020

3/16/2020, 4:25 pm.  PA Library Association - our small staff of 4 are working to maintain operations during this evolving time.  If possible, we ask that you communicate with us via email.  Our business hours are 8:30 - 4:30, but during this time, we may not be able to access our phones if we need to work remotely, and our response time may be a little slower.  Email addresses can be found on our staff page -

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Call for Presenters Submission Deadline Extended Until April 1

Posted By Kimberly Snyder Wise, Monday, March 16, 2020
The 2020 PaLA Conference to take place this October at Kalahari Resort in the Poconos is still on as planned.  However, due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, we have extended the deadline to submit a proposal to present a conference breakout session until noon, Wednesday, April 1. 

Submission Information: 

Tags:  Annual Conference  PaLA Conference 

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OCL - Libraries to Close for Routine In-Person Public Services

Posted By Christi Buker, Friday, March 13, 2020

BREAKING NEWS from Office of Commonwealth Libraries

Libraries to Close for Routine, In-Person Public Library Services

Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for 10 business days effective Monday, March 16. The Wolf Administration will continue to monitor Covid-19 in the commonwealth, and at the end of 10 days will reevaluate and decide whether continued closure is needed.


Consistent with the Governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all public libraries across Pennsylvania should follow this guidance. 


Since many public libraries are open on weekends and to achieve the maximum in public safety, the Office of Commonwealth Libraries instructs libraries to close for routine, public library services beginning on Saturday, March 14 and remain closed through Sunday, March 29, a period in alignment with school closures. 


We recognize that library officials may not receive this information as quickly as needed since the information is being provided late Friday afternoon following a day full of rapidly changing circumstances.  For that I apologize.  However, I ask that your library close for routine, public library services as soon as it is reasonably possible.


Following that period of monitoring and evaluation, decisions about the future will be announced via the Office of Commonwealth Libraries’ website ( and via our statewide email distribution lists.


The only exception to this directive that may apply is a circumstance where a public library is working in cooperation with local emergency management officials to provide essential services needed for their community during this period.  In such an instance, the library may remain open with essential personnel to provide these services but not for purposes of routine, in-person public services.


As a result of this statewide closure, it is no longer necessary to notify PDE of your closure.  In the instance where a library remains open, please:

  • Notify of the purpose for remaining open due to work with an emergency management agency; and to
  • Provide the name of the person who will serve as the library’s point of contact including their title, email address, and phone number during the time when essential services are being provided.


Please know that libraries closed under these circumstances will not jeopardize their eligibility for Public Library Subsidy support.


We will provide additional guidance as circumstances warrant. 


Thanks to you all for your great service to the public, and for your cooperation during these difficult days.



Glenn R. Miller | Deputy Secretary & Commissioner for Libraries

Pennsylvania Department of Education | Office of Commonwealth Libraries

333 Market St., 11th Floor | Harrisburg, PA  17101-2210 | |

This communication is issued on the Deputy Secretary’s behalf by Jonelle Darr, Executive Assistant.

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National Library Legislative Day 2020 Canceled

Posted By Susan Wertz, Friday, March 13, 2020
The American Library Association has made the difficult decision to cancel National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) 2020 in Washington, D.C., on May 4 and 5.    

ALA’s priority is the health and safety of all our library advocates. The venue for our event, the Georgetown University and Conference Center, is a high-risk area as the situation surrounding COVID-19 develops. As the U.S. Sergeant at Arms has declared that the U.S. Capitol, House and Senate Office Buildings, and the Capitol Visitors Center will be closed to the public until at least April 1, we have decided to cancel NLLD in order to be responsive to local developments and concerns. 

ALA is acutely aware of the gravity of the situation for all the library advocates across the nation who depend on NLLD as a key opportunity to connect with their elected officials and to develop their advocacy skills. Though our in-person NLLD event will no longer take place in the way that we intended, ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office continues to uphold our mission: making sure that libraries have a seat at the table in Washington, D.C.—especially during a critical time for the field.  

We are now working through the impact of this unprecedented situation. In addition to offering a robust digital campaign, we are exploring other options such as meeting with Congressional offices virtually as their schedules allow. Whatever the result, ALA will continue to build advocacy strategies based on the availability of the Capitol complex.  

Details about virtual advocacy opportunities will be shared via email and on our 
NLLD webpage. Information regarding refunds will be shared by email in the upcoming days. If you have questions, please contact:  

In this time of uncertainty, there are many difficult decisions to make based on the needs and safety of the people you serve every day – library staff, volunteers, and visitors. Your actions and response to this public health crisis clearly demonstrate to decisionmakers the value of libraries. Thank you for your commitment to advocacy. We will be in touch again soon! 

202-628-8410 ?

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Pennsylvania Libraries supporting Economic Development

Posted By Robin Lesher, Friday, March 13, 2020
This Article from explains how entrepreneurs can use their local library to access free resources and get ahead in their business!

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ALA Updates, March 3, 2020 - Public LIbrary Association Stands with Nashville in the wake of tornado

Posted By Robin Lesher, Thursday, March 5, 2020

Public Library Association stands with Nashville in wake of tornado

The Public Library Association (PLA) is deeply saddened at news of the devastating impact of last night’s deadly tornado in Nashville and central Tennessee. Nashville Public Library locations are closed today, except for polling locations. PLA is reaching out to Nashville library leaders to see how the association can best support the library and its community in the coming days.

“We are hearing from public library workers across the country sharing our sorrow at this disaster in the wake of an incredibly vibrant PLA 2020 national conference,” said PLA President Ramiro Salazar. “More than 8,700 people enjoyed the amazing hospitality of the city and the Nashville Public Library. It is truly incomprehensible to see the destruction after we experienced so many wonderful interactions, meals, music and learning last week.” Read more

OCLC, PLA report offers strategies for public libraries to respond to the opioid crisis

OCLC and the Public Library Association (PLA) issued Call to Action: Public Libraries and the Opioid Crisis, a report that offers tested strategies to consider as libraries determine local responses to the nationwide public health emergency.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 130 people die every day from an opioid overdose. As trusted local institutions, public libraries connect community members to credible, accurate information and services that can help support needs around substance use disorder. The call to action was informed by case study research with eight public libraries that have created community responses with local partners, as well as discussions with government agencies, public health and human services organizations, community organizations, and library leaders. Read more

Libraries Ready to Code awards microfunding on Digital Learning Day

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Libraries Ready to Code initiative, sponsored by Google, awarded more than 100 academic, school and public libraries with $700 mini-grants to encourage digital skills education in honor of Digital Learning Day, Feb. 27, 2020.   

Digital Learning Day is an annual event to promote effective use of technology tools and rich learning opportunities for learners of all ages. Microfunding awardees will use their grants to implement video-based lessons from Google’s Applied Digital Skills program to prepare learners for the future of work. Libraries are expected to carry out four sessions of digital skills programming by May 31, 2020. Read more

ALA adds Polish American Library Association to its professional affiliate roster

The governing Council of the American Library Association (ALA) has voted to make the Polish American Librarians Association (PALA) an ALA Affiliate. The action was taken Jan. 27 during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. PALA applied for affiliation in 2019, and the application was vetted by the ALA Executive Board to ensure that PALA’s bylaws and mission were in compliance with ALA. PALA joins 27 other affiliated library organizations and, with the Chinese American Librarians Association, becomes one of only two affiliates that are nation-specific. Read more

Help build the 2021 AASL National Conference

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) invites school library professionals to help plan programming for the 2021 AASL National Conference. Professionals are asked to submit topics needed for professional development during the conference, taking place in October 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Read more

Pre-Service school librarians’ perceptions explored in new School Library Research

New research published in the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) peer-reviewed online journal, School Library Research (SLR), explores graduate-level instruction on research designs and methods for pre-service school librarians. SLR promotes and publishes high-quality original research concerning the management, implementation, and evaluation of school libraries. Read more

YALSA names 2020 Writing Award recipients

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has named the winners of its 2020 Writing Award with individuals being awarded in four categories. Read more

AASL to host webinars for school library preparation faculty and instructors

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Coordinating Committee will host a six-part webinar series to assist college and university faculty as they begin to align their programs, individual courses, and assessments to the 2019 ALA/AASL/CAEP School Librarian Preparation Standards. School library professionals teaching as faculty, instructor, or adjunct in a school library preparation program are invited to attend. Registration is now open at Read more

LLAMA webinars help new supervisors hit the ground running

If you are a new supervisor, it helps to be prepared for the challenges your staff may present to you. Whether you were promoted from within or hired from the outside, you can expect to face similar issues. Your staff may have conflicts among themselves, with past management or with customers that should be addressed. You will also need to determine the best way to build an effective team, a process that is vital to your staff’s success and yours.

The Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) will present two webinars for new supervisors: “Resolving Past Conflicts,” and “Teambuilding for the Future.” These webinars address two of LLAMA's 14 Foundational Leadership Competencies. Read more

Hebah Emara named 2019-20 LITA/OCLC Spectrum Scholar

The Library and Information Technology Association and OCLC are funding Hebah Emara's participation in the ALA Spectrum Scholars program as part of their commitment to help diversify the library technology field.

Emara is a second-year distance student at the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Information Science and Learning Technologies MLIS program. She is interested in the ways libraries and technology intersect.  Read more


Dr. Lesley Farmer receives the Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship

Sol María López awarded 2020 Lois Mai Chan Professional Development Grant

2020 Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship nominations open 

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