Each year, the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) honors the service of their members, as well as those community volunteers, who go above and beyond the call of duty to support the work of libraries throughout the commonwealth.
On Thursday, October 15, 2020, the 2020 Elected Official of the Year
The Pennsylvania Library Association is honored to present the 2020 Elected Official Award to Representative Carolyn Comitta of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 156th Legislative District, Chester County.
For over 45 years, Representative Carolyn Comitta has been an advocate of libraries, whether an elementary school teacher advocating for her school library, an avid user of her local public library in West Chester, or a voice in support of funding for all public libraries in Pennsylvania.
Ms. Comitta started her political career in West Chester. As a Borough Council member, she supported the increase of funding for the West Chester Public Library. When she became a two-term Mayor of West Chester, PA, she backed many library projects, was especially active in the local summer reading programs, and always made room in her schedule for a library event.
When Ms. Comitta moved to the state-wide political arena, she maintained her commitment to libraries. She still participates in the local Legislative Breakfast and often speaks on how to increase state and local library funding and how libraries should connect with elected officials. And, as Member of the House Appropriations Committee, Representative Comitta was permitted one question at the Education Department hearings. Her question was directed at increasing library funding in Pennsylvania and she added her own emphasis by saying: “Libraries are an investment in our children and adults, as well as workforce development. They provide enhanced opportunities for each person, regardless of economic class, race, or gender. Libraries need, at the very least, continued funding now more than ever. I will continue to raise my voice on behalf of public libraries in Pennsylvania.”
For her dedication to supporting and advocating for public libraries in her role as an elected official, it is with sincere appreciation and gratitude that the Pennsylvania Library Association presents the 2020 Elected Official Award to Representative Carolyn Comitta.
“Representative Carolyn Comitta has been an enthusiastic library supporter, speaking passionately on behalf of the value of public libraries and the role they play in the everyday life of Pennsylvania’s residents throughout her political career.” Said Kimberley Hravnik, Chair of the Pennsylvania Library Association Legislative Committee. “The libraries of Chester County, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, are fortunate to have a staunch ally in Representative Comitta.”
A committee comprised of association members reviews the nominations, submitted in late summer, and selects winners for a series of categories. Previous winners include Representative Stan Saylor in 2019, PA Senator Guy Reschenthaler in 2018, and Easttown Township Supervisor Christopher Polites in 2017.
“The Pennsylvania Library Association and its members rely on the support of elected officials. Without State and Local funding support and awareness our libraries could not support their communities effectively. We are grateful for the support of Representative Comitta and spotlighting the work of libraries in their communities.” said Christi Buker, PaLA Executive Director.
Founded in 1901, the Pennsylvania Library Association is the state’s oldest professional library organization serving libraries, library employees, library trustees, and Friends of the Library groups. PaLA represents more than 1,300 personal, institutional, and commercial members affiliated with public, academic, special and school libraries throughout the commonwealth. The association represents the profession in Harrisburg with the state legislature and provides opportunities for professional growth, leadership development and continuing education for librarians.