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Overview of Pennsylvania’s The Future You with the Library Project

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries in partnership with the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), is developing a state-wide version of the Institute for Museum and Library Services funded Future Ready with the Library (FRwtL) project. In Pennsylvania the program will be titled The Future You with the Library to avoid confusion with the Department of Education’s Future Ready Index.

The program supports small libraries as they provide college and career readiness (CCR) services for and with the middle schoolers in their communities. Library staff from Pennsylvania libraries serving a population of 15,000 or less may apply to be a part of a cohort of learners that will develop CCR services and resources that meet the particular needs of the middle schoolers in their communities.  Cohort members will meet and work both in-person and online.  You are encouraged to read some of the blog posts from library staff who have participated in the national program.  Access the posts.

The goals of the program are:

•  Library staff will learn effective methods for planning and implementing, with a local partner, CCR initiatives for and with middle schoolers and their families

•  Middle schoolers and their families will gain valuable future ready information that will better prepare them for starting a career and/or focusing on academics related to a career after high school

•  Middle schoolers will engage in valuable career exploration and workforce preparation experiences

•  Library staff will develop a set of model programs and tools that can be used by a wide range of communities and libraries

Up to 12 library staff in Pennsylvania will be selected to participate in this cohort. Cohort members will have the opportunity to:

  • Hone their skills to support service for and with youth in the community
  • Create or expand services that specifically support the CCR needs of middle school students and their families
  • Advance relationships with community partners
  • Build relationships with colleagues across the state
  • Access customizable tools to support your specific community’s needs
  • Access resources just right for supporting the CCR needs of middle school youth and families
  • Attend a face-to-face meeting in State College, PA, September 23 and 24, 2019, with travel expenses and funds for temporary staffing help in your library while you are gone being paid for through grant funds

Those that participate in the project will be required to:

  • Actively participate in project activities from September 2019 through April 2020.  Attend a face-to-face meeting in State College, PA on September 23 and 24, 2019
  • Participate in online learning developed specifically for this project that will help you to hone skills in supporting CCR needs and in working with community partners
  • Participate in the project’s online Community of Practice to exchange ideas, and where coaches and mentors will be available to support you
  • Identify and work with a community partner to develop, deliver and evaluate a CCR service for middle schoolers
  • Share your learning and any resources you developed with the library community.

We expect that the project will require participants to spend approximately 2-3 hours per week on The Future You with the Library activities. These activities will include online learning, online conversation with colleagues and coaches, developing a CCR service with your community partner, and work in the community outside of the library building to learn about the needs of middle school youth and their families and to develop partnerships and relationships.

During the face-to-face meeting in State College cohort members will:

  • Hear speakers discuss topics such as youth development, community engagement, and connected learning.
  • Work in small groups to improve understanding of youth development, community engagement, and connected learning.
  • Begin to develop action plans for working with community and middle school youth and families.

From September 2019 – April 2020 cohort members will be expected to:

  • Meet regularly with community organizations, agencies, partners in the community outside of the library building.
  • Talk with teens and families, both inside and outside the library building, about their needs and interests.
  • Develop outcomes with at least one community partner for a service/program that supports middle school college and career readiness.
  • Post reflections, ideas, resources, and questions on the Community of practice approximately once per week.
  • Support other cohort members in their work by regularly engaging in the Community of Practice and responding to other’s comments, ideas, questions, reflections.
  • Participating in video chats about topics related to college and career readiness for middle school youth.

A key component of this project is that library staff selected go out into their communities to build relationships.  Therefore, we expect those selected to be able to leave their library buildings in order to complete project activities.  Cohort members are expected to dedicate approximately 2 – 3 hours per week for approximately six months to this project, beginning in September 2019 and continuing through April 2020.

Evaluators will vet applications based on community need and the capacity of the library and the applicant to fully participate in the project.

The Pennsylvania cohort applications are due no later than 5 pm on Friday, May 24. An announcement of who has been selected will be made by June 28, 2019.  Access the application.  This Word document lists the questions on the application.


Susan Pannebaker, MLIS
Youth Services Advisor, Bureau of Library Development
Office of Commonwealth Libraries |Pennsylvania Department of Education

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