Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Workshop for library professionals hosted at Lycoming College

Workshop for library professionals hosted at Lycoming College

Doreva Belfiore, digital projects librarian at Temple University, discusses various projects with the group.

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Nearly 40 library professionals attended a day-long workshop at Lycoming College’s Lynn Science Center in May to share ways to expand access to specialized materials via the internet. The professionals, which included representatives from both academic and public libraries from across the state, also participated in professional development and networking opportunities.

The event, titled “Digitize Locally, Share Globally,” explored various facets of creating digital collections, including identifying, scanning, cataloging, and sharing materials.

The workshop was sponsored by the West Branch Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA). Alison S. Gregory, who is an associate professor, associate dean, and the director of Library Services at the College, organized the event. Gregory is also the PaLA treasurer and a member of the West Branch Chapter Steering Committee.

Gregory noted that the workshop had wide appeal because many libraries, regardless of their size or setting, have unique collections with a broad potential audience. However, few have undertaken digitization projects that will bring those collections to the internet and the world. Her inspiration for the workshop came from the collaborative success of the Lycoming County Women’s History Collection (LCWHC) available online. The collection is formed by a partnership between Lycoming College, James V. Brown Library, Pennsylvania College of Technology, and the Lycoming County Historical Society.

The LCWHC has digitized many historical documents, sponsors projects that help researchers better understand the context of those documents, and provides curriculum guides for use by teachers of all grade levels.

“Its focus on women’s history makes it an uncommon and therefore highly valued collection to facilitate continued historical research by anyone with internet access,” said Gregory. “Our hope is to encourage more libraries to undertake similar projects, thus giving the public greater access to rich historical materials.”

Workshop topics included the PA Digital statewide collaboration on digital projects and service hub for the Digital Public Library of America, multiple examples of public and academic library collaborations on digitizing local collections, using the POWER Library PA Photos & Document service, creating metadata for local digital collections, creating outreach events with local digital collections, and utilizing the State Library of Pennsylvania’s Scribe Station mobile scanners.

Speakers included Doreva Belfiore from Temple University and co-manager of PA Digital, Bill Fee of the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Janet McNeil Hurlbert of Lycoming College, Mary Sieminski of the Lycoming County Women’s History Collection, Martina Soden of the Scranton Public Library, and Kristen Yarmey of the University of Scranton. Participants also visited Williamsport’s public library — the James V. Brown Library — where Melissa Rowse, assistant director at that library and PaLA vice president and membership chair, had one of the State Library of Pennsylvania’s Scribe Station scanners demonstrated.

During the workshop, West Branch Chapter chair Joann Eichenlaub, assistant director of library services at Penn College, presented 17 libraries with PA Forward Star Awards. Libraries could achieve Bronze, Silver, or Gold Star status for completing activities that improve five areas of literacy — basic, information, civic and social, health, and financial — that are recognized as essential to greater success in life. The pilot is part of the PaLA PA Forward Literacies Initiative.

“The attendees were enthusiastic about the variety of libraries, presenters, and usefulness of the topics,” said Gregory. “Their feedback indicated that the workshop struck a balance between offering practical solutions and inspiring big ideas.”

The Pennsylvania Library Association is the state’s oldest and most diverse professional library organization serving libraries, and library employees, trustees, donors and volunteers. PaLA represents more than 1,500 personal, institutional, and commercial members affiliated with public, academic, special, and school libraries throughout the Commonwealth. The West Branch workshop was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor, through the College and Research Division ( of PaLA.

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