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PA State Budget - 1 pager

Posted By Christi Buker, Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Members of the PA library community are encouraged to share this quick one-pager with their state elected officials. 

The PA General Assembly is likely to pass a stop-gap budget this week!  The House will be in session today at 1pm, and the Senate at 7pm. 

   It looks like K-12 funding will be the priority and would be passed for a full year’s worth of funding.  All other items are up in the air and may only be funded for a 5-month period through November.  The legislature would then pass another budget piece in November to cover the remainder of 2020-2021 fiscal year. 

Please take a few minutes to call or email your state elected officials today!

Messages to legislators should acknowledge these basic points:

1.      Libraries will be important for the recovery of PA by providing access to resources – Wi-Fi, computers, workforce development, educational items, and staff.

2.      There has been high demand for libraries during this time.  New processes to serve our communities are evolving – SHARE your own library’s plans for what you CAN do (don’t focus on items you can’t do).  Even if you have a draft or work in progress, let your legislator know that you are working to serve!

3.      Even during the toughest times in history, libraries have served and will continue to do so!

4.      ADD your local impact story in a very brief statement or 30 seconds.  What story?  Seniors, school-age children, virtual programming, outreach/delivery, helping people file unemployment, or completing the Census!  Pick one, and have your co-workers, boards, friends, patrons also connect!

    Libraries aren’t going away, but we sure could use legislative support to make sure all communities have access to library services!

At the bottom of this post you can download our 1-page flyer, and you are encouraged to share with your legislators. 

   For those that live in the Senator Corman, Senator Pat Browne, Rep. Cutler, and Rep. Saylor districts – we want to give them extra encouragement to reach out about how critical libraries are and will be for the strength of PA!

   Last year we made progress with a $5 million increase to the public library subsidy.  The Governor’s proposed budget in February retained that $5 million put forward by the legislature.  Now, we must advocate to make sure that we maintain that funding. 

   If you get a response from your legislator or their staff, we would appreciate hearing from you!  Feel free to send any info you gather to Kimberley Hrivnak,, Legislative Committee Co-Chair, and

With great appreciation for your efforts,


Christi Buker, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association

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Tags:  budget 

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ALA News update: April 21st - Includes information about Virtual Conference

Posted By Robin Lesher, Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mark your calendar, ALA Virtual - Community Through Connection, June 24-26, 2020

American Library Association (ALA) will host ALA Virtual - Community Through Connection, an online event that will offer educational programming, special author events, and social networking on June 24-26, 2020. ALA looks forward to this unique opportunity for members and library supporters to stay connected as we move forward to empower our profession and support our communities. Read more

National Library Week, April 19-25, 2020, celebrates libraries’ resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic

The novel Coronavirus crisis has dramatically and quickly changed American life.   Most libraries have closed their physical buildings on the recommendation of public health officials and the American Library Association (ALA), but remain open for business online and continue to support their communities with resources, services and programs.

As the impact of the current public health crisis continues to evolve and change the work of libraries and library workers, libraries are proving resourceful and resilient, serving as a rich pipeline for content, delivering access to ebooks, movies, music, video games, virtual storytimes and activities, and so much more.

Just as libraries are pivoting in response to the current situation, the ALA is changing the focus of its annual National Library Week celebration, April 19-25, 2020.

The theme for National Library Week (NLW) 2020, “Find your place at the library,” was chosen before the emergence of the global pandemic. To acknowledge our altered landscape, ALA flipped the script a bit on the theme. “Find the library at your place” highlights how libraries are offering virtual services and digital content their communities need now more than ever. Read more

ALA releases 2020 State of America’s Libraries report

The American Library Association (ALA) has released its 2020 State of America’s Libraries report, an annual summary of library trends released during National Library Week, April 19 – 25, that outlines statistics and issues affecting all types of libraries during the previous calendar year. Read more


Martha Hickson receives AASL Intellectual Freedom Award

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced as 2020 Student Chapter of the Year Award Winner

Stefanie Throndson receives AASL Innovative Reading Grant

'The Power Project' receives AASL Roald Dahl's Miss Honey Social Justice Award

Samantha Grabus wins 2020 LITA/Ex Libris Student Writing Award

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Ideas for Fundraising During COVID-19

Posted By Kimberly Snyder Wise, Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Check out these notes taken from a fundraising professionals town hall for fundraising during COVID-19.

May 5 is "Giving Tuesday - Now"

Tags:  COVID19  fundraising  Giving 

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Call for Lightning Talks & Posters is OPEN!

Posted By Kimberly Snyder Wise, Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Planning is still underway for the 2020 Pennsylvania Library Association Conference to take place this October at Kalahari Resort in the Poconos.  The 2020 Conference Committee is currently accepting proposals to present Lightning Talks and/or Posters during the event.  These brief, informal presentations are highly interactive and a great way for librarians to share with their peers!

The deadline to submit is Monday, May 11.

More information

Tags:  #annualconference #posters #lightningtalks  #pala2020  #palaconference 

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Reminder: Public Libraries Remain Closed Until Further Notice

Posted By Susan Wertz, Wednesday, April 15, 2020

From the Office of Commonwealth Libraries

On April 9, 2020 Governor Tom Wolf announced that all Pennsylvania schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.  At this time, I want to remind each of you that public libraries are to remain closed until further notice.  (Instructions on this closure period were issued on March 30, 2020).

I recognize that all of us want to return to normal as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, we are experiencing an extraordinary, worldwide public health crisis.  And here in Pennsylvania, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to grow.  This means that each of us must continue to do our part to make the public's (and our own) safety our highest priority. 

Library Re-Opening Plans

When the time comes to carry out plans to re-open libraries, the Office of Commonwealth Libraries will provide libraries with a preparation period prior to any formal re-opening to the public.  This will give libraries time to develop staffing plans, quarantine and sanitize returned materials for at least one day (as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control in a recent webinar), re-shelve returned materials, provide staff with training, address facility issues, etc.

In addition, depending upon the circumstances that exist when libraries re-open, we may need to adopt a phased-in approach toward public services.  For example, there may be restrictions on hours, pick-up methods, or the size of gatherings.  To put it simply, we will not know what public health issues may need to be addressed at the time of possible re-openings.

If you have recommendations about the amount of time your library might need to prepare for re-opening or ways in which services might be phased-in, please share your ideas with your District Library Consultant.  We will consult with them to discuss your ideas as we consider the elements of a sound re-opening plan.

Public Library Code Requirements

Finally, in light of this unprecedented situation, I recognize that many of you might already see declining revenues (including donations) or your expenses might increase due to COVID-19 issues.  This, in turn will require many libraries to make budget modifications that will significantly change their 2020 spending plan and (possibly) library operations such as hours, collection development expenditures, etc. 

Normally, if a library deviates from its Plan for the Use of State Aid, it would need to file a revised Plan for the Use of State Aid and obtain the Office of Commonwealth Libraries approval before implementing the plan.

However, let me reassure each of you that the Office of Commonwealth Libraries is giving each library flexibility to modify the requirement to file a revised Plan for the Use of State Aid for the period covering this calendar year (2020).

Instead, libraries may modify their budgets and operations to use their Public Library Subsidy funds in the areas that will best support service to the community for the remainder of the calendar year (especially as you consider supporting your most valuable resource—your staff).

Later this year, the Office of Commonwealth Libraries will set a deadline for the submission of these plans and reassess requirements as we move into 2021.

Thank You for What You Do

Right now, all of us are being challenged every day, in almost every way possible. 

I encourage each of you to:

  • Continue to offer remote library services to the best of your ability;
  • Take advantage of the many training events that our Office and others are offering;
  • Consider participating in the Pennsylvania Library Association's (PaLA) open forum call-in sessions to discuss how your library is offering remote services, ask questions about federal legislative requirements, discuss plans for summer learning programs, or chat about other matters (PaLA sessions are open to everyone, not just members).; and
  • Be sure to make time to care for yourself and those around you to ensure everyone's safety and good health.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you.  I recognize and appreciate your deep passion and dedication to provide Pennsylvanians with the best public library service possible.  Our communities are fortunate to have such amazing and committed people serving them.

Information and Questions

Information and future guidance related to library services will be announced through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries' website and via our statewide email distribution lists.

Questions about COVID-19 issues should be directed to PDE's emergency response account at:

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2020 challenges = New PALS Virtual Leadership Program

Posted By Christi Buker, Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Leadership Development Committee of the Pennsylvania Library Association met earlier this week to consider the 3 PALS (PA Library Association Academy of Leadership Studies) workshops. One of the strengths of the PALS workshops has always been to bring together individuals from across the commonwealth and develop a professional cohort.    

We decided that the Leadership Academy (June 3-6) and Directors’ Institute (May 31 – June 3) for 2020 will not occur this year. 

In response to the unusual challenges, PALS is creating a NEW multi-session virtual leadership program!  We know that many libraries and particularly small and rural library leaders are struggling right now.  With small staff and often lacking library-issued laptops, headsets, web cams, connectivity – we know that your leadership skills are being tested. 

“Leading through Challenges by PALS” will be open to current library leaders regardless of whether you have attended a PALS program in the past.  The logistics and details will be finalized in the next few weeks and we are targeting early May to launch registration with programming to start in July.  Programs will include leadership materials, professional presenters, inspiring presentations by PA library leaders, and time for discussion.  You won’t want to miss this!

* We may be able to provide needed equipment (laptop, headset) to qualified registrants mainly smaller budget.  DIRECTORS and ADMINISTRATORS, please note that in order to gauge your interest/need, a brief survey will be distributed shortly.  Our colleagues at KINBER are doing a separate survey related to broadband.  Please complete both surveys!!

We look forward to sharing details with you in May.  Thank you for being a member – you matter to us!

Stay calm, stay home, and stay safe!


Christi Buker |Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association


This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.

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Director Level Forums with Christi

Posted By Christi Buker, Wednesday, April 8, 2020

***Special opportunities to connect LIVE for Library Directors, System/District Administrators, and District Consultants***

Email invitations went out on April 6, for a series of weekly video conference calls.  The dates are Thursday mornings at various times.  These are open discussions to share questions, best practices, and tips for handling matters related to the current pandemic.

If you missed the email, please contact Christi Buker, Executive Director,

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Live with Christi Public Forum 4.1.2020

Posted By Robin Lesher, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Pennsylvania Library Association held an open forum on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.  Find attached the highlights from that Forum.  Plans are in the works to have regular forums during this crisis.  The Pennsylvania Library Association is here to help you deal with the critical issues facing libraries right now.

Highlights from April 1 Open Forum


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Call for Lightning Talks & Posters is OPEN!

Posted By Kimberly Snyder Wise, Thursday, April 2, 2020

Planning is still underway for the 2020 Pennsylvania Library Association Conference to take place this October at Kalahari Resort in the Poconos.  The 2020 Conference Committee is currently accepting proposals to present Lightning Talks and/or Posters during the event.  These brief, informal presentations are highly interactive and a great way for librarians to share with their peers!

The deadline to submit is Monday, May 11.

More information

Tags:  #pala2018 #palaconference  Call for Proposals  conference  PA Library Association Conference  PaLA Conference 

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United for Libraries opens online discussion forums to non-members to help provide COVID-19 resources

Posted By Robin Lesher, Tuesday, March 31, 2020

For Immediate Release
Wed, 03/25/2020


Trish McFadden

Program Coordinator

United for Libraries


EXTON, Pennsylvania — As part of the broad American Library Association effort to provide resources to library communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, United for Libraries is working to support library Boards of Trustees, Friends groups, and Foundations during this time. As part of this initiative, United for Libraries is currently making its online discussion forums accessible to non-members.

United for Libraries’ four online discussion forums allow Trustees, Friends, statewide Friends groups, and Foundation staff/board members, and library employees who work with them, to share tips, ask questions, get advice, and more.

Formerly, access to these forums was restricted to members of United for Libraries. Through June 30, 2020, the United for Libraries membership requirement to participate in online discussion forums will be waived. Current discussion topics include best practices, questions, and tips on policies and procedures related to COVID-19, but the forums are also a rich source of information on general policies, board development, fundraising, programs, community partnerships, and more.

To join United for Libraries' discussion forums for Boards of Trustees, Friends groups, and Foundations, visit

United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. To join, please visit or call (800) 545-2433, ext. 2161.

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