Oil Region Library Association Named 2022 Partner of the Year
The Oil Region Library Association (ORLA) has been named the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce Partner in Business for 2022, recognizing its commitment to engage local communities and enhance literacy. ORLA provides access across three locations throughout Venango County (Oil City, Franklin, and Cooperstown) via just one library card and is led by Executive Director, Dan Flaherty, who encourages his staff to be active volunteers within their community. The team consists of 16 dedicated individuals – 8 full-time employees as well as 8 part-timers – all striving towards creating a better future through education and culture preservation initiatives.
ORLA has made its mark in the Oil Region community, with the publication Hidden Heritage being awarded a Historic Preservation Award, for their dedication to preserving and promoting historic stories of the region. ORLA was also nominated as one of only five finalists for Best Industry Partner/Organization by the 2022 Oil Region Tourism Awards – recognition that speaks highly towards ORLA’s success and growth within an ever-changing industry landscape. Innovative use of RFID technology has helped speed up patron interactions, while transitioning to a fine free model increased material usage by 20%.
ORLA is launching an exciting series of fundraising initiatives in 2023, beginning with the Founders Fund, to ensure the sustainability of their shared operations. From there, they’ll launch the much-anticipated Library Lotto throughout all of 2023!
In the summer of 2022, they partnered with local artist Marcy Hall to paint the front steps of the Oil City Library into a stunning mural featuring popular book spines accessible for all ages.
Additionally, Diversity before University encourages teens in their journey towards exploring different perspectives – readers can submit a review on any such material for an opportunity at winning Amazon gift cards!
Another new initiative, Books on Wheels, connects Seventh Street and Smedley Elementary Schools directly to library resources that they were unable to purchase, ensuring that each classroom remains up-to-date with educational literature.
ORLA is expanding services in 2023 with a partnership between Arc of Clarion and Venango Counties called the “Inclusion Library”, to make recreational resources available for checkout. Also planned is an Adulting 101 Program at Franklin Public Library designed to equip individuals with essential life skills.
Susan Williams, President of the Chamber expressed her admiration for ORLA’s work in bringing together resources to meet community needs. Additionally, she noted that ensuring access to these services is crucial if businesses wish to have a successful workforce – making this collaboration invaluable!
This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s February 2023 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.