Brown Library awarded state Library of the Year

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – The James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., was awarded Library of the Year by the Pennsylvania Library Association during the organization’s annual Business Meeting on Oct. 26.

This award is presented to an individual library that has exhibited excellence in the following areas over the previous year:

  • Service to public or academic community
  • Advancing staff development
  • Innovation in a special project, partnership, or challenge overcome
  • Leadership in and support of Association activities

The Library was nominated for overcoming a significant and public censorship challenge over their Pride Display in June, maintaining a welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community, communicating the core values of public libraries, and generating community support in honor of the essential role of public libraries to be welcoming places of tolerance and respect for every citizen in our community. Through it all, the Library remained solid, respectful, open to discussion, and firm in our core values.

“This award is important because it communicates the value of public libraries as welcoming places of tolerance and respect. We are grateful to receive recognition as Library of the Year from the Pennsylvania Library Association for overcoming a difficult censorship challenge and for all of the support we received from community families that need diverse resources,” said Barbara S. McGary, Executive Director of the Library, who accepted the award. “I hope our efforts to honor and respect every family in our community gives other libraries the courage to do so. I am so proud of our Library for remaining solid, respectful, open to discussion, and firm in our core values to make the Library a Welcoming Place for All.”

To celebrate, an open house will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12 in the children’s area featuring light refreshments. Tours of the library will be available upon request. Come celebrate with us!

According to the PaLA award certificate, “The courage displayed by the staff of the James V. Brown Library in the face of this challenge serves as an inspiration to all Pennsylvania libraries.”

The Library is an institutional member of the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA), a PA Forward Gold Star Library, and serves as the North Central Library District hub for PA Forward. Employees of the Library have served on multiple PaLA committees and two staff members participated in the PALS (PaLA Academy of Leadership Studies) leadership program.

Previous winners were the Memorial Library of Nazareth & Vicinity in 2020; Chester County Library, Chester County, in 2019; and the Martin Library, York County Library System, in 2018.

The library supports the PA Forward statewide initiative, which believes that when Pennsylvania residents improve their command of five types of literacy – basic, information, civic and social, health and financial – they can achieve greater success as students, parents, employees, consumers, as citizens. Libraries are community centers of information, technology and learning that will fuel educational and economic opportunity for all of our citizens. 

The James V. Brown Library is open for browsing and holds pick up from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. To place a hold, visit or call 570-326-0536 during the library’s operating hours. The library also is open for public computer usage and for services such as printing, faxing, copying and scanning. Walk-in passport services are available.

The James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., Williamsport, Pa., is the place to go to learn, connect and grow. Founded in June 1907, the library champions the love of reading, opens new doors to lifelong learning, provides a haven to those who seek and ensures the preservation of public library services for future generations. The library has more than 225,000 visitors in a year and circulates a half-million items annually. A member of the Lycoming County Library System, the James V. Brown Library participates in PA Forward, a statewide initiative to promote literacies in our communities to power a better future for everyone.

pa forward gold level library