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 Virtual Library Coming to RLA; Cranberry Public Library Helping Out 



Oct. 17, 2006

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine: 724-738-4854;


WEXFORD, Pa.  –  The 12-partner Regional Learning Alliance, western Pennsylvania’s higher education and workforce development center, is using a $167,175 grant from the Buhl Foundation to develop the RLA Virtual Library.  The system, on public display during an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 14, will make it easier for students to connect to their home institutions’ libraries and other Web resources.

The RLA Partner Institutions Librarians’ Committee has being meeting since 2005 to plan development. A link on the RLA Web site to the Virtual Library is now live.

The grant paid for 14 computers, network printers, library cards and a new plasma “Media Wall.”  Eric Haft, a student-intern who graduated from the partner-institution Art Institute of Pittsburgh, created the library’s Web site.

 “Information services are integral to the success of the RLA educational endeavor,” said Philip Tramdack, SRU library director and an RLA librarian committee board member. “In a typical university setting, the library or information center plays a central role in filling the information services needs vital to education, research and lifelong learning,” he explained.

Earlier this year, the committee decided to offer every RLA student a free public library card through the Cranberry Public Library, the nearest public library to the RLA, Tramdack said.  The card allows students to access PA Power Library, a site of full-text magazine and journal databases and reference materials.

The RLA librarians’ committee is working on future goals. They include:

                         Linking to the new online virtual reference service AskHerePA, a 24-hour  information service available to all Pennsylvania residents with a library card.

        Creating links to free resources on the Internet.

        Looking for ways to create easy-to-use interlibrary loan service

        Investigating purchase of online library resources for RLA students


The first alliance of its kind in the region, partner institutions offer more than 50 classes a semester. Slippery Rock University spearheaded development of the 76,000-square-foot, one-stop learning center, 20 miles north of Pittsburgh in Marshall Township, Allegheny County. Other education partners include Penn State University, Robert Morris University, Carlow College, Pittsburgh Technical Institute,  Geneva College, La Roche College, DeVry University, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Butler County Community College, Allegheny County Community College and Strayer University.

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