News for Pennsyslvania Libraries

Glenn R. Miller

Glenn Miller, Deputy Secretary & Commissioner for Libraries


Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Commonwealth Libraries
Glenn Miller, Deputy Secretary & Commissioner for Libraries

Monday, June 11, 2018

Earlier this month, I sent you an email explaining that state law requires the Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL) to conduct competitive bids for POWER Library subscription e-resources.  These usually happen at five-year intervals.

I’m pleased to announce that our most recent procurement process is nearing the finish line and we can announce the results to you.  Given that we started working on this procurement process in February 2017 (16 months ago!), I’m sure that you can imagine how glad we are to finish this important work.  My thanks go to Alice Lubrecht for leading this effort, and to Anne Kruger, Susan Pannebaker, and Kevin Spangenberg – all part of our team here at OCL – for working on this so diligently.

What Did We Request in the Bid?

In 2017-2018, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania allocated approximately $1.3 million for POWER Library e-resources.  Due to Pennsylvania’s large population, that money doesn’t extend as far as we might like — but we’re always hopeful that competitive bidding will stretch limited dollars further so that we might be able to afford more.

When we draft our bid documents, we always ask for pricing that includes a wide range of possible resources.  We ask for basic news and research e-resources for students and the public, plus more specialized resources for children and teens as well as e-resources that cover topic areas such as languages, auto repair, authors, literary criticism, contemporary issues, genealogy, career and workforce development, educational testing, and more.

What Happened with the Bid?

We received several offers from the vendors that you might expect such as EBSCO and Gale-Cengage, and others that might surprise you, such as Recorded Books.

Our review team evaluated all the resources offered carefully and made their recommendations.  Based on the best cost and evaluation scores for things like content and user interfaces, the commonwealth is currently in the final stages of contracting with Gale-Cengage for the following e-resource line-up:

New E-Resource Subscriptions:

  1. Gale Academic OneFile
  2. Gale Business Insights: Essentials
  3. Gale Kids InfoBits
  4. Gale InfoTrac Student Edition
  5. Gale General OneFile
  6. Gale Global Reference on the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (GREENR)
  7. Gale Research in Context
  8. Gale InfoTrac Newsstand
  9. Gale Educator’s Reference Complete
  10. Gale Books & Authors
  11. Gale Informe Academico
  12. Gale LitFinder

This crosswalk describes each Gale e-resource and identifies which of our current POWER Library e-resources that a Gale e-resource replaces.

Also, there are eight e-resources that will continue.  These will not expire this summer.

Continuing E-Resource Subscriptions:

  1. AP Images
  2. EBSCO Consumer Health
  3. EBSCO eBooks
  4. EBSCO Science Reference Center
  5. Gale Contemporary Authors
  6. Rosen Cyber Smarts
  7. Scholastic BookFlix
  8. Scholastic TrueFlix

Why Are We Replacing ProQuest SIRS and EBSCO?

I know that some of you may be disappointed that we will not be renewing EBSCO’s products and ProQuest’s SIRS.  We are not renewing them for several reasons:

  • Our reviewers found that Gale-Cengage offered improved user interfaces and content.  In addition, Gale-Cengage was less expensive.
  • ProQuest did not submit a bid response for SIRS.  As a result, we could not consider purchasing the product.  Another resource (Gale Kids InfoBits) will be purchased instead. You may be interested to know that our reviewers found that it offered an improved user interface and content.

Finally, I’m pleased that since our new line-up of e-resources will be provided by one vendor, we will have the added benefit of having a more consistent user interface, thereby making it easier for younger children to move to more advanced resources.  In addition, this new contract is expected to deliver POWER Library resources for the next five years.  This will provide both continuity and greater predictability.

What Happens Next?

Currently, the following contracts will expire on July 31, 2018.  These will not be renewed.

Expiring E-Resource Subscriptions:

  1. EBSCO Academic Search Main Edition
  2. EBSCO Business Source Main Edition
  3. EBSCO Explora Elementary
  4. EBSCO Explora Middle School
  5. EBSCO Explora High School
  6. EBSCO Explora Public Library
  7. EBSCO GreenFile
  9. EBSCO MasterFile Main Edition
  10. EBSCO Middle Search Main Edition
  11. EBSCO Newspaper Source Plus
  12. EBSCO Newswires
  13. EBSCO Primary Search Main Edition
  14. EBSCO Teacher Reference Center
  15. EBSCO Web News
  16. ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

Once the contracts are finalized later this month, HSLC will then begin configuring our subscription access to the new Gale-Cengage resources.  HSLC will also be working with the vendor to develop training that will help you learn how to use the new e-resources most effectively. You should be sure to put one of our fall POWER Library training sessions on your fall calendar.

What Should You Do?

It’s important that you, your public service and technology staff stay abreast of the POWER Library URL changes and training opportunities for our new resources that will be announced by HSLC later this summer.  (The fall POWER Library training sessions will focus on our new Gale resources.)

You can stay up-to-date by subscribing to:

You should also begin planning to make any necessary changes to your website, printed materials, and statistical collection methods.


For questions about e-resources or other POWER Library services, please contact  

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 and through Library Access Funds administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Department of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.

Glenn R. Miller  |  Deputy Secretary & Commissioner for Libraries
Pennsylvania Department of Education  |  Office of Commonwealth Libraries
Room 200 Forum Building
607 South Drive  |  Harrisburg, PA  17120-0600
Phone:  717-783-2646  |  |  @PaDeptofEd  |
VIDEO: #PAHasYourBack

The mission of the Department of Education is to ensure that every learner has access to a world-class education system that academically prepares children and adults to succeed as productive citizens. Further, the Department seeks to establish a culture that is committed to improving opportunities throughout the commonwealth by ensuring that technical support, resources, and optimal learning environments are available for all students, whether children or adults.

This communication is issued on the Deputy Secretary’s behalf by Jonelle Darr (; 717-783-5725).