WASHINGTON – Today the American Library Association (ALA) and Public Library Association (PLA) announced the names of 20 libraries* in Pennsylvania selected to receive funding from Libraries Lead with Digital Skills, an initiative of ALA and PLA, sponsored by Grow with Google. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that public libraries across the nation receive ongoing access to free tools and resources to help everyone across America grow their skills, careers and businesses.
Pennsylvania is the first of 50 states to receive funding from Libraries Lead with Digital Skills to develop free programs that will either assist job seekers in finding or preparing for work, or empower small businesses to grow online. Newly awarded libraries in Pennsylvania will integrate Grow with Google programs into events or ongoing workshops to address the needs of their communities, including:
- Support for veterans seeking résumé or job search assistance to transfer military service into civilian experience
- Mentoring from community members to help new entrepreneurs create a business plan or learn skills to grow their small businesses
- Connecting unemployed or underemployed young adults with training to get a job in the IT industry
- Job fairs offering connections to local employers, interview preparation, and workforce readiness skills
“It’s exciting that Pennsylvania is the first state in the nation to receive Libraries Lead with Digital Skills funding,” said Pennsylvania State Librarian Glenn Miller. “Many libraries across the commonwealth already serve job seekers and entrepreneurs. This funding will allow 20 of them to ramp up their programs to build specific skills.
The $1,000 grants are intended as an encouragement to participate in the initiative and can be used by libraries to continue or expand services and programs related to workforce development. In addition to the funding, awardees will receive marketing support, technical guidance, advocacy tools and a community of practice with the goal of drawing attention to the services libraries provide.
“The concrete skills people gain in a matter of hours can transform them for a lifetime,” Miller said. “Pennsylvanians can come into the library barely knowing how to do a Google search and leave with the skills to find and apply for a job online. New business owners with no online presence will leave with a public listing on Google.”
“Public libraries are constantly innovating new ways to address the challenges of building skills for their community’s workforce,” said Monica Dombrowski, Executive Director of Sycamore Public Library (Ill.) and Chair of PLA’s Digital Literacy Committee. “Libraries Lead with Digital Skills will enable more libraries to meet those challenges with resources and a plan to move forward. It’s not only about enhancing programs at select libraries. These awards in Pennsylvania will result in case studies for libraries around the nation to draw upon as they build economically successful communities.”
“Libraries are pivotal leaders in providing digital skills programs in the community,” said Nicky Rigg, program manager for digital skills outreach at Google. “We are excited to learn from libraries across the country and shine a spotlight on how important their services are to job seekers and small businesses.”
Grow with Google is an initiative to help create economic opportunities for all Americans. In 2019, Grow With Google made a commitment to deliver free, in-person workshops for job seekers, small businesses, and library staff in all 50 states. As the tour progresses to each state, applications will open for libraries seeking Libraries Lead with Digital Skills funding. After programs are completed, at least one grantee library per state will receive a “spotlight” award, including an additional $3,000 and opportunities for ALA, PLA, and Google to promote their library’s program as a best practice. For tour dates, application deadlines and lists of each state’s awardees, visit ala.org/pla/initiatives/google. Follow the conversation at #Libraries Lead and #GrowWithGoogle @ALALibrary and @PLALibrary.
*Libraries Lead with Digital Skills Recipients in Pennsylvania
Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, Pittsburgh
B.F. Jones Memorial Library, Aliquippa
Bosler Memorial Library, Carlisle
Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville, Connellsville
Community Library of the Shenango Valley, Sharon
FOR Sto-Rox Library, McKees Rocks
Hazleton Area Public Library, Hazleton
Hollidaysburg Area Public Library, Hollidaysburg
Lower Macungie Library Inc., Macungie
Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity, Nazareth
Mifflin Community Library, Shillington
Millvale Community Library, Millvale
Montgomery House Library, McEwensville
New Castle Public Library, New Castle
Scranton Public Library, Scranton
Slippery Rock Community Library, Slippery Rock
Southern Lehigh Public Library, Center Valley
Summerville Public Library, Summerville
Tyrone Snyder Public Library, Tyrone
Wilkinsburg Public Library, Pittsburgh