Planning with PA Forward | Compendium

Jill McConnell


by Jill McConnell

I attended a Trustee Town Hall meeting last year where Kathy Silks mentioned that libraries can use PA Forward in their strategic planning process. That sounded like a great idea to me, but I wasn’t quite sure how to put it into practice until I spoke with Sharon McRae, Director of Shaler North Hills Library.

Reference librarians at Shaler have used the PA Forward literacies to categorize the types of questions they get at the reference desk. This data was then used to help the library develop goals and objectives pertaining to its staff, collections, programs and services.

Staff members who felt they didn’t have adequate knowledge of a particular literacy could plan to attend a webinar or other training to help them gain the skills they needed to be more successful in their jobs. If the data suggested that staff were unable to find materials or resources in the library to satisfy patrons’ needs with regard to a particular literacy, then plans could be made to fill gaps in the library’s collection. The sheer number of questions asked for each of the literacies indicated in which areas patrons had the largest need for information. These numbers could be used in planning programs and services for the coming year.

PA Forward Logo of Five Literacies

Using the PA Forward literacies at the reference desk is just one way to incorporate them in your library’s strategic planning process. Share your ideas on the PA Forward Best Practices Short Form.