Carbondale Public Library

Carbondale Public Library

The Carbondale Public Library wants to know: What does a library mean to you?

Take a photo that illustrates your answer, and you could win a $25 cash prize.

The contest, which lasts through Sept. 30, is one of ways library staff and volunteers are connecting to patrons as the community copes with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Under the guidance of our new director, Maura Rottmund, we have all been working on different ways to reach out to our public,” said Stephanie Spaid, education and outreach coordinator for the library. “Throughout quarantine, we kept virtual programming going for children and adults (with) our annual summer quest program through the app Beanstack.”

The library also offered virtual book, photo and gardening clubs for adults, as well as virtual smoking cessation classes thanks to a partnership with East Central & Northeast PA Area Health Education Center.

While the library was closed, youth services librarian Miss Leigh Ann Puchalski filmed and posted several storytime videos on social media and created grab-and-go activity bags to take and do at home.

Dr. S. Robert Powell, Carbondale’s town historian and a longtime library board member, came up with the idea for a photo contest, Spaid said in an email.

“He thought this would be a wonderful way to welcome back our patrons after being closed for so long,” she said. “With all of us living through such a time of uncertainty, it’s important for us to remember that the library will remain a constant source of support, enrichment and entertainment to our patrons.”

The contest has three age groups: 12 years old and under, 13-17 and 18 and over. Photos can be emailed in a .jpg format to Emailed photos must be under 5 MB and the email should include the submitter’s name, address, telephone number and age. Printed photos can be submitted to the library’s circulation desk, along with an entry form. Those photos must be no smaller than 4X6 and no larger than 8X10.

Photos should not be manipulated other than cropping and adjustments to exposure, sharpness and minor color correction. For full photo contest rules or more information on how to enter, call the library at 570-282-4281 or email

A panel of judges, which will include a member of the library board, a member of the library’s Friends group and a library staffer, will choose winners in each age category. Photos will be judged for quality, creativity and overall ability to capture the theme. Winners will be announced on Oct. 3.

The contest’s theme can be interpreted in many different ways. From finding a new recipe for dinner or researching genealogy to learning a new language or finding a new favorite author, the library opens up possibilities and strengthens the community, Spaid said.

“As a child, selecting a book at my local library was the highlight of the week,” she said. “Now, as an adult, I see the library as the center of the community. This is the place that builds and strengthens its community patron by patron. It’s here where the littlest reader starts off just flipping through picture books, but then grows into a life-long learner and a happy and productive member of the community.”

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