From Log Cabin To Cathedral Ceilings
Over sixty years ago, the Camp Hill Library began as a tribute. James Patterson donated $500 to memorialize his wife Betty Snowden Patterson and her love of books, and the Camp Hill Civic Club requested shelf space at the Schaeffer Elementary School. Additional books were donated by the Camp Hill Civic Club, various volunteers, the Junior Civic Club, and the Woman's Club. On April 16, 1957, a charter was signed by Judge Robert Lee Jacobs, and the Camp Hill Library was officially born.
The Library quickly outgrew its space at Schaeffer, so the Camp Hill American Legion offered room in its Log Cabin Home on South 22nd Street. Then in 1959, the Library moved to an even larger room behind the stage in the high school. By the end of 1967, the Library moved, once again, into its own building on North 31st Street. Known as the West Shore Public Library, it served residents of Camp Hill Borough, East Pennsboro Township, Hampden Township, Lemoyne Borough, Lower Allen Township, and Wormleysburg Borough. Nineteen years later, in October 1985, a branch library was opened in the East Pennsboro Township Municipal Building.
Four decades later, as the Library's collection, services, programs, and usage increased, so did the need, once again, for more space. By the year 2000, an ambitious campaign was launched for $6.4 million to build a new library. Thanks to generous gifts from the Fredricksen Foundation, Mrs. Grace Milliman Pollock, and many other donors, the doors of the Cleve J. Fredricksen Library opened in January 2001 where Lincoln Elementary School once stood.
Since then our beautiful Library has undergone additional expansions to meet the growing needs of the community. In 2017, thanks to the John Crain Kunkel Foundation, the Kunkel Creation Station, a dedicated space to house STEAM activities, was built in the Children’s Library. In 2019, the Open Doors Campaign led to the construction of a new Walnut Street entrance thanks to the generosity of the Edward R. Norford Foundation and several generous donors. During that same time the Business and Career Center on our upper level was constructed thanks to the Smith Land & Improvement Corporation, Orrstown Bank, Jack McGinley & Yvette Kane and numerous others. This center provides a valuable resource for those looking for employment, resume help and many other career opportunities. In addition, the Hoyt Reading Plaza, a beautiful outdoor reading area complete with benches, foliage, statues and engraved pavers, now graces the lower level entrance with thanks to the donations of Kirk and Judith Hoyt and many others.
Most recently, in summer 2020 a permanent StoryWalk® at the Creekview Park North in Hampden Township was constructed. This project was made possible from the generous support of James and Jean Grandon. The Grandon StoryWalk® combines literacy with physical activity and is an innovative way to get people of all ages outside to read while getting a little exercise.
As time goes on, the Fredricksen Library is committed to providing resources and opportunities to meet the educational, recreational, and cultural needs of our patrons and our community.