April 3 – 9, 2022 is National Library Week and Centre County is home to two libraries: Centre County Library and Historical Museum and Schlow Centre Region Library. Schlow is located in downtown State College, and the Centre County Library has locations in Bellefonte, Centre Hall, and Philipsburg, as well as a traveling Bookmobile. In addition to loaning books to card holders, both libraries offer free services and programs for the public to get involved with and enjoy.

The Centre County Library and Historical Museum was the first free public library in Centre County and was established in 1939. Its expansion to three locations and addition of a traveling Bookmobile allows the library to provide its services to residents of 29 municipalities in the county. The Bookmobile makes 19 weekly stops to more rural areas of Centre County for those residents who may not be able to travel to the library.

Opening multiple locations allows the Centre County Library to make more of an impact on its community members. “We know that the communities served by our branch locations have different needs and priorities and we work with our community partners to help address those needs,” said Denise Sticha, Executive Director at the Centre County Library and Historical Museum.

Denise likes to ask people what the community would be like if there was no library. “Most people, even if they aren’t active library users, have a personal library story or connection that resonates with them. Public libraries are one of the few places where people don’t have to pay or ‘belong’ to enter the space. Through our services, collections, and programs we support so many aspects of community life beyond the traditional scope of ‘education.’ We just try to help people better navigate through the complexities of life, connect with their neighbors, and experience personal growth,” said Denise.

The Centre County Library works in tandem with Schlow as a part of the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries to ensure that everyone in the county can benefit from the libraries’ services.

“[This partnership provides] the highest quality public library service to all residents of the County through cooperative projects like our joint online catalog, the Storywalks, and, our most recent effort, circulating hotspots, funded by not one, but two grants from Centre Foundation,” said Lisa Rives Collens, Library Director at Schlow Centre Region Library.

Schlow is also the District Center for the Central PA District. Through this role, they provide resources to the public libraries, their staff, and residents in Centre, Clearfield, Juniata, and Mifflin Counties.

In addition to traditional collections like books, audiobooks, DVD’s, etc., Schlow offers more non-traditional items for library card holders to utilize. “We’ve been talking a lot lately about the things that we have that are a bit unusual, including hiking maps, ready-made book discussion kits, maker kits, passes to Discovery Space, a sizeable collection of board games for teens and adults, and my personal favorite, our two ukuleles,” said DJ Lilly, Office Manager at Schlow.

Both the Centre County Library and Schlow Library see National Library Week as an opportunity to promote libraries and their community impact.

“The American Library Association has been sponsoring National Library Week for 64 years. It’s a great way to promote libraries and garner recognition for the role libraries play in supporting strong, dynamic communities and life-long learning. Each year is a different theme and a different celebrity chairperson, which makes it fun,” said Denise.

“National Library Week is a great opportunity for us to take advantage of the positive media attention to libraries and hopefully get more information about our own resources out to the public,” said DJ.

“It’s also a wonderful chance for our Council of Governments to celebrate their communities’ investment in their public library. The Council of Governments made a National Library Week Proclamation where they declared April 3-9, 2022, as National Library Week in the Centre Region,” said Lisa.

Check out Schlow Library and Centre County Library to learn more about how you can get involved with our local libraries.