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PA Forward: Getting Ahead at This Year’s PaLA Annual Conference

Ashley Flynn
Ashley Flynn

by Ashley Flynn

When faced with a large and tasty buffet, how does one choose to fill their plate? It can be hard to decide, but knowing the menu is a good place to start. As always, this year’s Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference provides a veritable feast of excellent programs from which to choose. Particularly tasty are the PA Forward offerings, which range from beneficial sessions and a fun photo booth to a hot new item available in the store.

“The annual PaLA Conference is a great opportunity to catch up on what’s new with PA Forward and to learn how our colleagues across the state are using PA Forward to communicate the value of library services,” said Mary Garm, Chair of the PA Forward Steering Committee. “The combination of formal presentations and informal networking is guaranteed to inspire and energize anyone who attends.”

Programs related to PA forward are scheduled on each day of the conference and cover many varied issues that are important to libraries of all sizes and types. The back-by-popular-demand Cream of the Crop session, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, will share the best program models from around the state, as well as helpful tips for how to implement them in each unique library. On Monday, a similar session will specifically address the best of the best in programming for academic librarians.

Other programs, such as Health Issues in the Headlines, will give librarians the skills they can use to address particular literacies within their libraries. Librarians serving at-risk populations will gain valuable insights into the practices and partnerships that can best support their efforts by attending the Building Literacy Skills in At-Risk Populations program. A session on connecting and collaborating will give academic librarians a look at 23 events that supported first-year students based on the five literacies and is sure to provide many useful ideas for implementation at learning institutions of all sizes.

Librarians from every kind of library can benefit from the PA Forward branding session, which will show attendees how to best leverage the PA Forward brand to enhance programs, get more funding, and empower citizens. All of these programs are excellent ways to improve the quality and promotion of the programs and services offered, but the remaining piece of the puzzle is how to share those accomplishments. The session on engaging community leaders is an excellent way to bring the total menu of PA Forward programming full-circle by PA Forward Logo of Five Literaciesproviding the framework to talk about those successes.

It’s not all sessions and programs, though! The PA forward presence will also include a trendy photo-booth, complete with props designed around each of the five literacies. Pose with the props of your choice and be sure to include the hashtag signs to showcase your favorite literacies! Stop by the PA Forward table, which “will host literature (of course!) about PA Forward including some one of a kind PA Forward tchotchkes to take home and back to your library,” shared Amy Krize Suveg, Chair of the PR/Marketing Committee and a member of the PA Forward Steering Committee.

Celebrating PA Forward doesn’t have to end at the conference. For the first time ever, you can take home some wearable PA Forward swag. Stop by the store to buy a hot new PA Forward t-shirt to show your support!

While at the conference, be sure to live tweet your experience with #pala2015. Let us know what tasty sessions you sampled, and how you’ll be using PA Forward at your library!

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