CARBONDALE – The Carbondale Library keeps on rockin’! Recently, the Pennsylvania Library Association (PLA) awarded the local library with the prestigious Gold Star status through its PA Forward Initiative.

“The PA Forward initiative was developed to help strengthen all of the state’s community libraries through education, advocacy, and leadership,” said Library Director Marie Zaccone.

“Recognition and awards come in the form of stars. Last year, the Carbondale Library earned Bronze Star recognition for its Bookmobile program and went on to earn Silver Stars in several specific areas. After continuing to work toward completing each of the required levels within the program, we recently earned our Gold Star status.” While this is something the entire library staff is proud to have earned, it is also a meaningful achievement for library patrons and Carbondale.

Conceived by the PLA’s 21st Century Literacies Initiative, PA Forward expresses what the library community already knows and what other states are recognizing: With the right support, community libraries are well positioned to become primary centers of information, technology, and learning that will continually fuel educational and economic opportunity for all citizens.

When asked how to build a better future that encompasses job growth, opportunity, and community vitality for citizens of all ages, the PLA views libraries as being the central suppliers of power within their respective community.

As further cited by the PLA, those who work within academia and libraries already know that an educated public with better access to information is key to achieving success. Far more than lenders of just books, today’s libraries serve as models of cost-effective service through their added sharing of computers, online resources, facilities, and expertise. By their very definition, libraries serve the public broadly and efficiently. Recognition through PA Forward helps spread the word to ensure that libraries are duly recognized as leaders of a vision that commands a unique combination of new technology, community access, and a commitment to learning.

“As a public library, we really are in an excellent position to help everyone in our community develop and improve upon five defined types of literacy that are essential to achieving success at all levels,” said Zaccone. The five essential literacies as defined by PA Forward include: basic literacy, information literacy, civic and social literacy, health literacy, and financial literacy.

“Having earned its Silver Stars, the entire staff kept working and moving forward to earn the library the highly valued Gold Star,” Zaccone continued.

“All year long, we followed the detailed guidelines and carried out all of the steps necessary to bring our library up to the highest standards of supporting each of these literacies through our many services and programs. We carried out all of the necessary tasks to further educate and spread awareness to our community about the PA Forward program and its literacies.

"We earned and proudly achieved our Gold Star status -- and we’ll continue to grow and expand this library’s services and activities to help Carbondale and its residents keep growing too.”

The PA Forward Initiative is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, as administered through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For additional information about the PLA and the PA Forward Initiative, visit www.paforward.org.