Public libraries nationwide offer programs and services for learning and leisure to engage youth and adults meaningfully throughout the summer months. We’re happy to announce that the Office of Commonwealth Libraries is one of five state library agencies joining the IMLS grant-funded initiative Building Equity-Based Summers (BEBS) Through Libraries & Communities to equip library staff to create summer programs and services that are equitable and promote equity across the communities served by their library.
The Office of Commonwealth Libraries is seeking five public libraries that possess the drive, commitment, and capacity to sustain transformational change to summer services. Please note that participants are not being asked to change their current summer plans; rather, they will be asked to evaluate their summer programs and services in light of equity goals.
Applicant teams for this project must consist of a front-line staff person (who works directly with youth and families) and an administrative staff member (branch manager, department head, leadership team member, director).
Teams selected to participate in BEBS training will take part in a series of eight 1.5-hour virtual work sessions covering the following topics around equity:
- Why it’s important
- Assessing current summer services
- How to build BEBS style summer services
- Having conversations with community partners, stakeholders, and members and adding their voices
Virtual work sessions will be held weekly on Thursdays from 3:00 to 4:30 PM from January 18 to March 7, 2024. An orientation session will be held on Thursday, January 11, 2024, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. Participants will be required to complete a project agreement upon acceptance to the project. Participants will also work with the Pennsylvania Youth Services Advisor Team in a co-design session to address possibilities on the topic at the wider statewide level.
Following the training, each selected participating library will receive $500, funded by the California Library Association and the California State Library, for their participation in the learning sessions to support their future design of equity-based summer services. They will also be able to articulate the impact these services have on the community, specifically community members who are a part of systematically marginalized communities.
Participation requirements for all BEBS initiative team members:
- Attendance at an orientation session before starting the learning sessions.
- Attendance at eight (8) 1.5-hour learning sessions with other Pennsylvania participants.
- Participation of both frontline and administrative staff members.
- Participation in a Community of Practice with the teams and state youth services consultants from the other participating states and the BEBS project coordinators upon completion of all learning sessions.
- Begin work within your library to consider and assess your existing and planned summer programs and services through an equity lens.
- Ongoing participation in evaluation activities which may include interviews, focus groups, surveys, observations, and sharing of artifacts.
Future iterations of BEBS cohorts will be made available to larger groups after this pilot project for further engagement.
If you are interested in being a part of this project, please complete the Building Equity-Based Summers (BEBS) Professional Development Initiative application by Monday, December 18, 2023. Successful applicants will be notified by Tuesday, January 2, 2024.
BEBS builds on the work of the California Library Association and the California State Library in developing a shared language of equity and a set of tools and resources for library staff to build community-centered, equitable summer programs and services. This project is made possible in part by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Office of Commonwealth Libraries.
Questions and comments can be sent to Corri Hines, School Age Services Advisor, Bureau of Library Development, Office of Commonwealth Libraries.