The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is the only federal program exclusively for libraries. It is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS uses a population driven formula to distribute funds to states through its Grants to States program. This program is the largest source of federal funding support for library services in the U.S.
In order for Pennsylvania to receive the funds from IMLS, a 5-Year Plan, demonstrating alignment with the purposes and priorities outlined by LSTA, must be submitted and approved by IMLS.
As required by IMLS, approximately every five years, the Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL), Pennsylvania’s State Library Administrative Agency (SLAA) and deputate within the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), conducts an evaluation on the effectiveness of its current LSTA 5-year plan.
Presently, Pennsylvania uses LSTA funds to sustain a variety of significant projects such as Lifelong Learning and Literacy (includes Out-of-School Time and Family Engagement), Digital Library Services (includes POWER Library), Underserved and Populations with Special Needs (includes Teen Reading Lounge), and Training and Support. In addition, funds support State Library staff, library development advisors, and project managers for LSTA-funded statewide projects.
This year, a team from OCL, led by Acting Deputy Secretary Susan Banks and LSTA Coordinator Hadiyah Cleveland, have been working with QualityMetrics to complete the IMLS required evaluation. QualityMetrics, LLC was selected through a competitive process led by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies in the Northeast (COSLINE) to conduct the evaluations of each library in that consortium.
QualityMetrics is conducting individual interviews, focus groups, and an overall statewide survey to gather feedback about the current 5-Year Plan. The statewide survey will open on November 16, 2021 following a short town hall meeting. Register online to attend the town hall. Interview and focus group invitations are being sent directly by QualityMetrics.
The evaluation is the first step in preparing for the creation of a new 5-Year Plan of which will run October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2027.