College librarian honored for leadership in statewide initiative
The assistant director of library services for Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Madigan Library, the first academic library in the commonwealth to reach top-of-the-line Gold Star status in the PA Forward Star Library program, is among three recent recipients of a Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Library Association.
Joann L. Eichenlaub, a director-at-large for the state association’s board of directors since 2017, spearheaded Penn College’s pilot involvement in the Star program, which spotlights the crucial role that libraries play in their communities.
Through the guidance of the honoree and her co-workers, Madigan Library offers a variety of activities — from therapy dogs during Finals Week to informational displays, from vintage automobiles to gallery exhibits — that reflect PA Forward’s five foundational tenets: basic literacy, information literacy, civic and social literacy, health literacy, and financial literacy.
“Joann’s enthusiasm for libraries at the forefront of literacy education has been tireless. She’s an inspiration, not only for the students, faculty and staff at the Madigan Library, but for library users and personnel throughout Pennsylvania,” said Tracey Amey, library director. “This award recognizes Joann’s dedication to all Pennsylvania residents’ lifelong learning.”
Eichenlaub was acknowledged Sept. 24 during an online ceremony led by Carrie Sturgill, co-chair of PaLA’s awards committee and head of youth services at Radnor Memorial Library.
“As an attendee at the 2015 Pennsylvania Library Association’s Academy of Leadership Studies, Joann was a key member of the project to design the integration of the PA Forward initiative into public library programming and services and, concurrently, to recognize libraries for their commitment and involvement,” Sturgill read from the citation
“The cohort worked with 19 libraries, helping 10 of them achieve Gold Star status. After the initial success of the pilot program, Joann and members of the PALS group joined the PA Forward Training Team, which readied the program for statewide launch.”
In 2018, the team identified the need to extend PA Forward into academic and school libraries, and Eichenlaub was able to use Madigan Library to demonstrate how the program would fit the structures of academia.
“Upon completion of the pilot program,” Sturgill continued, “she worked tirelessly to help other university, college, special and school libraries achieve the same success and communicate the importance of this initiative for the sustainability of Pennsylvania libraries in the future.”
Eichenlaub has gone on to chair the PA Forward Steering Committee and is helping the PA Forward and Star programs adapt to the changing landscape of library services during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
This year’s other two Certificate of Merit recipients are Marissa Guidara, district youth services consultant for the Reading Public Library; and June Houghtaling, consultant for the North Central Library District, based at the James V. Brown Library in downtown Williamsport.
“The Pennsylvania Library Association is able to do what we do thanks to the unwavering efforts of our volunteers and our members,” said Christi Buker, executive director. “These awards are just our small way of shining a light on what all librarians, library staffs and our volunteers do to continue promoting the value libraries bring to communities they serve. We are thankful for their support and engagement, and are honored to be able to recognize their efforts.”