The Exeter Community Library has joined the Pennsylvania Library Association in a statewide initiative to strengthen the state's libraries through education, advocacy and leadership.

The initiative is titled PA Forward and it touts public libraries as an “essential resource to a growing customer base of private and municipal organizations and individuals.”

The concept that libraries can offer more than just reading material is not new, but all too often, residents overlook the sheer number of resources libraries can actually provide. The PA Forward initiative highlights what resources Pennsylvania libraries provide and how they can offer those resources to the public.

PA Forward focuses on five main areas of literacy — basic, information, civic and social, health and financial. By supporting these five areas, libraries are positioned to become the community centers of information, technology and learning. The idea is to provide educational and economic opportunity for all Pennsylvania citizens.

The Exeter Community Library embraces the PA Forward initiative with open arms, applying the philosophy to many of its existing programs. Book clubs and story times provide basic literacy services while computer access offers information literacy. Program rooms are essential for civic and social literacy as well as health and financial literacies, providing spaces for educational programs of all kinds, including tax preparation at no cost, which is currently running on Fridays thanks to AARP.

To learn more about the PA Forward initiative, visit www.paforward.org. To learn more about how the Exeter Community Library will incorporate the PA Forward initiative into its programs, visit www.berkslibraries.org/exeter. Through its varied programs, the Exeter Community Library aims to serve the community as a center of learning, accessible recreation, practical tools, and nearly 500 free programs designed for children and adults to participate in throughout the year.

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