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A Year in Review: 2021 PA Forward(R) Programs

As the first year of a new decade is about to close its doors, the Scranton Public Library is taking this time to reflect on what we have accomplished, what we will continue in 2022, and what is yet to be done. A major component of how we review and design our programs is through the PA Forward(R) program.

What is PA Forward(R)?

PA Forward(R) is a statewide initiative to encourage all libraries, public, academic, and private to develop programs based on 5 essential literacies: Basic, Civic & Social, Financial, Health, and Information. Together, these 5 literacies enable our communities to live well and become life-long learners.

In 2018, the Scranton Public Library received Gold Star status from the PA Forward(R) Initiative. This means that all of our programs and services were aligned with the 5 literacies.

Below is a list of Scranton Public Library programs broken-down by the 5 literacies.

Basic Literacy Programs

Reading Skills Class

This structured class is held for children in grades K-3 for them to learn their long and short vowel sounds. Classes are taught by an Elementary school teacher who leads the children through a story time and interactive activities for the children to practice learning one vowel sound at a time. After class, students leave with a craft or practice cards for the vowel sound they covered that day. This program is generously supported through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.

Story Times

Children of all ages are always welcome to Story Times at the Library. Each Story Time includes several stories, songs, a puppet show, and a craft.

Novel Thoughts Book Club

Designed for kids ages 9 and up, this club meets twice a month to discuss a new chapter book or longer picture book. Graphic novels have also been added by request. The program is designed to get children to share and talk about why or why not they liked reading the book. This program is generously supported through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.

Let’s Talk About…

Geared for adults ages 18 plus, this new program was born out of its original Social Justice Book Club. Unlike a traditional book club setting, the program is designed to create and encourage an environment of open conversation while being respectful of differing and controversial ideas. Held monthly, each session is given a topic with a corresponding book, video, or magazine/newspaper article. This program is held once a month in-person and over Zoom.

Maker Mondays

Designed for teens and adults, Maker Mondays include a step-by-step informational session on how to create a DIY craft project. Past projects have included a book pages wreath, reverse canvas art, and painted wooden decor. This program is held at least once a month.

BINGO at the Library

Designed for seniors and older adults, the library holds a bingo day once a month. Small value prizes are handed out to winners. Between 5-10 games are played in a two-hour window.

Albright Book Club

Designed for adults, the book club meets every other month with the book titles being chosen by members of the group. Book topics range between modern romance, historical romance, historical fiction, and regular fiction.

Highbury at the Library: Jane Austen Book Club

Jane Austen fans meet once a month to discuss one of the author’s books and modern-day film and book adaptations.

Creative Writing Class for Teens

Teens ages 13 and up are invited to join this monthly group. Take this time to explore the field of creative writing or to hone your skills. Each session includes writing prompts and a chance to share your progress with the group and ask for suggestions.

Civic & Social Literacy Programs

Along with the Social Justice Book Club, the Library hosts several programs that encourage people to come together and share their experiences, views, and opinions.

Socrates Cafe

Held every third Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm, Socrates Cafe invites a local Philosophy professor to lead a group discussion on a certain topic using the Socratic Method.

A Walk Through Africa

Designed for children ages 3-12, this program introduces cultural traditions and folk stories of several African tribes through picture books, songs, and dance. It is held several times throughout the year.

Voter Registration Day

This annual event encourages anyone 18 and up to register to vote and to understand the importance of voting in an election. Partnerships include working with the University of Scranton and Lackawanna County League of Women Voters.

Scranton Reads One City, One Book

Normally held in October, Scranton Reads was held in February 2021 to correspond with Black History Month. The book chosen was Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar. Free copies of the book were given to the community. A virtual author Q&A was held along with several book discussions held across Scranton and Lackawanna County.

Financial Literacy Programs

Personal Finance for Teens

To correspond with Money Smart Week in April, the Library partnered with The Association of Financial Educators to host two workshops over Zoom for older teens who work, looking to work, or attend college. The workshop included a take-home budget planner workbook and copies of the presentation slides.

Scholarship Workshop

Also in April 2021, the Library partnered with Educational Opportunities Center to bring a live Zoom presentation for students, parents, and caregivers to learn more about how to find scholarships for school and how to apply.

Health Literacy Programs

Family to Family: How to Help Loved Ones Suffering from Mental Illness

In the summer of 2021, NAMI NEPA reached out to the Library to provide an important service for our community. Mental health awareness and support have become critical as the world lives through a pandemic. The Family to Family program is designed to help and offer support for the people who know someone suffering from a mental illness. The workshop provides them the opportunity to ask questions and share their emotions and stories with people who have gone through the same experiences. All who attend receive a take-home information packet and contact information of the NAMI NEPA representatives.

NAMI Connections: Mental Health Support Group

Immediately following the Family to Family workshop, NAMI NEPA and the Library also established a mental health support group that meets twice a month at the Library. This program is designed for people who suffer from a mental illness, regardless of diagnosis, and is led by trained people with lived experience. No registration is required for this event. This group will continue to meet in 2022.

Meet the Tooth Fairy

This annual event is held for kids of all ages in partnership with the Scranton Dental Society. A dentist volunteers his or her time to talk to the kids about good dental hygiene. Then the Tooth Fairy reads a story to the kids and stays afterward for pictures.

Information Literacy Programs

Tech Table

This new program started in the summer of 2021. Like Apple’s Genius Bar, Tech Table allows people to walk in during designated hours to receive help with any of their digital devices including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and eReaders.

One-on-One Tech Help Sessions

Our Computer Lab Instructor will be on hand during these sessions to work one-on-one with you to help with your technology needs. Bring your tablet, laptop, smartphone, or other device with you. These sessions are made by appointment only and are held several times a week.

Microsoft Office Computer Classes

Learn how to use Microsoft Word and Excel to write & create documents and spreadsheets. These classes are held throughout each week at 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm. Word Classes have two sessions. Excel has 4 sessions.

Resume & Job Search Help

Using Google Docs, this class will go over how to write a resume and cover letter. The second part of the class will go over how to search for jobs online.

Online Selling Classes

This class will teach you how to sell items on Ebay, including setting up an account, uploading photos of the item, and edit item information.

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