In partnership with the Lebanon County Library Association, LebTown is proud to introduce “Library Letters,” a series of columns about the programming, people, and possibilities offered by libraries around the county.

Today’s letter is from Dee L. Neff, director of the Annville Free Library.

You may be thinking why should I know about this POWER Library? What is it anyway? What’s it going to do for me? Not to worry, all your questions will be answered shortly.

So, what is it?

Well, I’m glad you asked. This website, available 24/7 with countless resources, is a service of the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and is hosted by HSLC. Prepare to be amazed. Here is what you will find:

  • Find a PA library: Looking for a library near you? This is where to look.
  • Chat with a Librarian (Ask Here PA) is a statewide live chat reference service and is free to all residents of Pennsylvania 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • Pennsylvania Statewide Catalog: A database containing library catalog holdings from libraries statewide, accessible from a single website on the Internet for all residents of Pennsylvania. Search all the participating libraries in the state at one time!
  • E-Resources: Thirty-one quality databases that provide access to thousands of full-text periodical articles, newspapers, a major encyclopedia, photographs, pictures, charts, maps, science resources, health and wellness resources, literature, books and authors, resources for children and teens, educator resources, job resources, small engine repair, auto repair, and more!
  • PA Photos and Documents: This is the place to search collections of photos, documents, and other artifacts that have been preserved and digitized by libraries and other organizations across the Commonwealth.
  • Power Library News: Sign up for the newsletter and keep up with what’s new.
  • eCard: Don’t have a library card but you need to use the e-resources? You can get one here.

If you’re not sure where (or how) to start, Let Ben Be Your Guide or Chat directly with a librarian are two options to use. Experienced librarians are on hand to assist. They may be able to answer your question then and there, email information later, or suggest resources to explore.

Most of the site is open for browsing, but, to use the online e-resources, you must have a library card issued by a library in Pennsylvania or you can obtain an eCard that will allow you to access the POWER Library e-resources.

What can POWER Library do for you?

Glad you asked! Let me give you some examples:

  • Your child has just informed you that they have a paper due tomorrow on water buffaloes but hasn’t done any research. What do you do? Answer: Kids Infobits in e-Resources.
  • You are looking for a new job or are trying to decide on a new career. Check out Pa Job Resources in e-Resources.
  • You would like some extra help getting your child to be a good reader. Try BookFlix in e-Resources for fun books and related games, read-a-longs and more in English and some in Spanish.
  • Looking for a new author? Books & Authors in e-Resources has over 240,000 fiction and non-fiction books to match your interest.
  • If you like looking at postcards or you are a collector you might want to look at the Pennsylvania State Archives digital collection of approximately 29,000 postcards from the 1880s to the 1970s includes images from across the U.S. and all 67 Pennsylvania counties in the Pa Photos and Documents pages.
  • You’re a homeschool teacher who needs some help with a topic. Go to a Kids Infobits topic and click on the three bars on the top right for educator resources including lesson plans, scavenger hunts, and more.

Hopefully, you now have some idea of what can be accessed on this amazing website. There are many other resources that we didn’t touch on so I encourage everyone to go explore them. POWER Library also has sections for teens (POWER Teens) and elementary schoolers (POWER Kids) that are more geared toward those age groups.

Each of the public libraries in Lebanon County has access to POWER Library and can help with any questions you may have.

All of these resources are available to everyone in the state free of charge. If you see your state representative let them know that you appreciate what the Office of Commonwealth Libraries has done for the people of this state.

One last thing, please go to the POWER Library website and give it a try. Not enough people have caught on to what they have at their fingertips with this website. You will certainly be glad that you did.

Read Previous Library Letters


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