Public library in Mechanicsburg flourishing in spite of budget cuts

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MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - State funding for public libraries has been slashed in recent years. But while the money may have stopped coming in, the people have not.


"Oh no, libraries are busier than ever," said Library Assistant Kathy Chasler of the Joseph T. Simpson Public Library in Mechanicsburg.


The Simpson Library has been especially busy. Economic recessions apparently drive people to the library for free resources.


"Since 2008, our usage rates have really skyrocketed," said Rebecca Swanger, the adult services librarian and volunteer coordinator at the library. "That happens every time the economy goes down."


Believe it or not, in this age of technology, people still read stuff on paper. And they do have the technology.


"Books still really get used a lot," said Swanger. "The DVD's are also really popular. Kids come in and rent the video games, which is something not a lot of people know we have."


The library system is aggressive in offering programs to help readers of all ages, starting very early.


"We have programs for babies, rhyme time, story time, toddler time, pre-school, book clubs," said Chasler.


And they want to involve the parents as well.


"Anything to get the families involved with their children," said Chasler. "We have a huge family fall festival coming up on November 9th. We have a great turnout for that.'


Library officials are in the middle of a nationwide public awareness campaign called "Geek the Library." They use geek as a verb, as in really liking something.


"Really it's just a way for us to go out into the community and say no matter what you're passionate about, the public library has resources for you and we want you to use our resources," said Swanger.


This Sunday, the Simpson Library will be visited by famous author Daniel Stashower to discuss his book, "The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War."


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