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Office of Commonwealth Libraries Five Year Plan

This guide outlines the Office of Commonwealth Libraries Five Year Plan from 2023-2027.

Goal 1: Statewide Infrastructure

GOAL 1: Statewide Infrastructure

Provide support and services through sustainable structures to ensure equity of access to library resources for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of economy or geography.

Need Addressed:

There is a need for libraries to provide new services and transform themselves, provide adequate and well-used electronic resources while ensuring curation of digital assets, and support for sustainable and environmentally sound approaches while protecting and preparing for disaster planning and the impact of climate change.

Project Areas

Project Area 1.1 Service Structure Evolution

Evolve service structures for cooperative library development that benefit the local user.

Activity Areas:
  • Conduct needs assessment of users and non-users that could be met with Statewide resources.
    • Potential activities: Statewide longitudinal assessments, creation and maintenance of data dashboard, annual prioritization of service responses based on trends.

  • Coordinate collaborative planning on evolving administrative structures that equitably serve the people of Pennsylvania.
    • Potential activities: Pilot new approaches to library advising and development services, pursue options for administrative support structures, develop model policies and policy templates, revisit standards for all library structures.

  • Support strategic resource sharing through software and physical item delivery solutions.
    • Potential activities: Coordination of materials delivery options, open-source options for integrated library systems, statewide resource sharing.

Target Audience – Library staff, volunteers, and Trustees

Evaluation: Evidence and documentation regarding progress on key milestones.

Timeline: Work will progress over the five years of the plan.


  • Year 1: Needs assessment results, review of current practices in delivery and resource sharing. June-Aug 2024
  • Year 2: Priorities established for statewide administrative structure changes, model policies location established, standards revisions timeline in place. June-Aug 2025
  • Year 3: Resource sharing expansion pilots planned, data dashboard created. June-Aug 2026
  • Year 4: Annual prioritization and content decision-making process in place. June-Aug 2027

Project Area 1.2 Digital Library Support

Support digital library services that complement and expand what is offered at the local level.

Activity Areas
  • Evaluate consistently and report on the impact of statewide electronic resources.
    • Potential activities: Resource evaluation task force creation, communications on what resources are impacting  which users.

  • Build and maintain virtual collections with a focus on user accessibility - including equity and inclusion of stories of people at the margin.
    • Potential activities: Provide statewide accessible electronic resources, virtual reference services meeting cultural and educational needs, digital resource collections and repositories.

  • Expand Library Services for the Print Disabled (also funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania).
    • Potential activities: Partnerships with formal education providers and vocational rehabilitation.

Target Audience: General public

Evaluation:  Evidence and documentation regarding progress on key milestones; output measures such as the number of authenticated search sessions and downloaded materials; number of virtual reference sessions and user satisfaction ratings; number of registered patrons of Library of Accessible Media for Pennsylvanians (LAMP) services

Timeline: Work will progress over the five years of the plan.


  • Year 1: Procedures and priorities for evaluation and reporting process in place, underserved and underrepresented users and information sources identified and needs assessed. June-Aug 2024
  • Year 2: Priorities established for strategic development of statewide electronic resources. June-Aug 2025
  • Year 3: Specific areas of inequity in distribution and use of digital library resources are identified and targeted for action June-Aug 2026
  • Year 4: Partners in statewide establishment of digital library services provision identified and activated. June-Aug 2027

Project Area 1.3 Environmental Impact

Advance resources and services that consider environmental impact on libraries, preservation, and disaster recovery.

  • Provide special projects funding for preservation and disaster planning.
    • Potential activities: Preservation training, disaster preparedness and recovery planning sub-grants preservation and/or conservation of rare materials.

  • Provide special projects funding for resources and services that promote environmental sustainability and acknowledge and combat the impact of climate change and limited natural resources.
    • Potential activities: Green libraries sub-grant(s).

Target Audience: Library staff, volunteers, and Trustees

Evaluation: Number of items preserved and impact statements on those collections. Number of libraries with disaster plans in place. Outcomes from grants made for preservation and environmental projects.

Timeline: Work will progress over the five years of the plan.


  • Year 1: Preservation and conservation needs assessed, and priorities identified. June-Aug 2024
  • Year 2: Statewide partnerships with institutions in place to share expertise and training. June-Aug 2025
  • Year 3: Funding programs specific to preservation established June-Aug 2026
  • Year 4: Funding programs specific to environmental impact established. June-Aug 2027