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Celebrate the Book event slated for Saturday in Carlisle

2013Central PA Book Festival Art Contenst Winners

Winners of the 2013 Central PA Book Festival Art Contest hold up their prize winning illustrations on Tuesday evening during a awards ceremony at the Bosler Library, Carlisle.  Photo courtesy of: Jason Malmont/The Sentinel


SOUTH MIDDLETON TWP. — This weekend is the time to celebrate books in Carlisle.


The Friends of the Bosler Memorial Library will host the Celebrate the Book! festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Patrick’s Parish Activity Center at 85 Marsh Drive in South Middleton Township.


The event features several author visits, writing workshops, storytelling, an “Alice in Wonderland” tea party, Junior Jeopardy and young adult panel discussions and book signings.


Among the notable authors speaking and signing books is Dr. Eben Alexander, who will speak at 10 a.m. about the near-death experience he chronicled in his book “Proof of Heaven.”


Other authors include Artie Bennett, Traci Vallano, Nelson Lauver, Jackson Taylor, Victoria Thompson, Maria V. Snyder and Ellen Crosby. Young adult authors will also be on-hand for a panel discussion about the issues they face each day. Those writers include Jennifer L. Armentrout, Zoraida Cordova, Wendy Higgins and Cyn Balog.


The event costs $5 for adults and is free for children ages 12 and younger. For more information, visit the website at


Midstate library system concerned about state funding drop

CARLISLE — Climbing into third-class territory won’t come without growing pains for Cumberland County — especially when it comes to how the state will supplement library system cash flow in 2015.


Library Executive Director Jonelle Darr told commissioners Thursday the county’s new classification, first awarded in 2010, will force state lawmakers to recalculate the funding formula that provides a 50 percent matching grant to county library systems each year. Darr projects the new formula would cut state support virtually in half, dropping to just a 30 percent match rate.


“We are very concerned, and we feel like we’ve been pedaling as fast as we can,” Darr said as she presented the results of this year’s system financial audit at the commissioners’ workshop meeting. “We feel like we are working very hard in trying to contain or reduce expenditures.”


Darr said last year’s library costs toppled the 2011 budget by about $375,000, in part due to renovations at system headquarters on Ritner Highway and the five-year upgrade plan for about 300 library computers throughout the county.


Meanwhile, yearly tax revenues — totaling about $2 million — remain virtually unchanged from 2008, when the state reduced library funding by 41 percent. Darr says the decision drains the library system of about $775,000 each year, only exasperating money problems stemming from a 38 percent cut in 2004.


Darr says the county increased revenue 46 percent through “fundraisers, fines and fees,” collecting about an additional $1.2 million over the last five years to help supplement budget holes left by state cuts. But, she said, it’s not nearly enough.


“We are in relatively good financial health,” Darr said. “But we are raiding our fund balance at the rate of 10 percent a year. This year’s raid is expected to be even higher.”


The county hasn’t raised the library tax since 2004, when the state’s first budget cut jeopardized services “significantly.” Since then, the library tax revenue has funded 75 percent of the library system’s total budget.


Darr said the library board will settle on a plan to balance the budget next month.


Cleve J. Fredricksen Library plans to expand parking lot

CAMP HILL — Camp Hill Borough Council approved a plan designed by H. Edward Black Engineering to increase parking at the Cleve J. Fredricksen Library at Wednesday night’s meeting.


Two separate lots will be merged into one to provide for approximately 30 additional spaces.


“It’s a busy library,” said Director Bonnie Goble. “One of the objections from the neighbors is that there is too much on-street parking when the library has a big event, so we wanted to answer the residents’ concerns. It will enable us to support our expanded activity and now we can better meet the demand,” she said.


“We’re very happy with it because we think it will help the community. It also helps the staff to have good, safe parking and so it’s just positive all around,” board president Janice Bolton said.


As for financing, Bolton said the library “wanted to make sure the plan was approved first and we’ll be discussing financing at a later date.”


Officials said work will begin in spring of next year at the latest.


Bulldog Hall of Fame inducts six members

The Bulldog Foundation’s 5th annual Hall of Fame Dinner is Saturday, Oct. 19, at Big Spring High School. Six Big Spring alumni – Deb Mixell Kennedy, Wayne “Jake” Cohick, Col. (Ret.) Ken Shannon, Joel Hockensmith, Robert Jumper and Sally McElwain Smith – are inducted into the Bulldog Hall of Fame that evening.


The Bulldog Foundation supports the Big Spring School District (BSSD) with its mission to strengthen and acknowledge the educational, cultural, wellness and athletic programs of the district. The Foundation board and officers encourage and welcome anyone associated with the district to its membership and to attend the annual dinner. Tickets to the Hall of Fame Dinner can be purchased through Friday, Oct. 4, by contacting Jeff Cohick at (717) 574-5245 or


SallyAnn McElwain Smith

SallyAnn McElwain Smith graduated from Big Spring in 1963 and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education/preschool concentration from Shippensburg State College, with 21 credits in library science. She served as a kindergarten teacher at Haine Elementary School in Mars, Pa., and as a substitute teacher in various school districts near Pittsburgh before becoming a preschool teacher at the Carlisle YWCA for programs including Tiny Tots. She was also a substitute teacher at the former Newville Day Care.


Those library science credits paid off, however, when she became children’s librarian at Shippensburg Public Library for four years and subsequently found her major life’s work, as director of John Graham Library in Newville for 27 years. There, she was perhaps best known publicly for her children’s programs, which often were presented in costume, to the delight of spectators of all ages.


“She has often been called the ‘child whisperer,’ because her mystical, soft-spoken way with both the well-behaved and not-so-well-behaved child is a wonder to behold,” said Sally’s sister, Barbara McElwain DeMango.


Sally retired from the John Graham Public Library in 2011 and now lives in Lock Haven.


Sally’s volunteer service to the community has been extensive: Girl Scout leader, registrar and provider of special programming; help with meals and programming for Big Spring Senior Center; elementary school volunteer – including reading volunteer – with a stint as PTO president; membership and leadership positions in the Newville–Big Spring Alumni Association and Bulldog Foundation; involvement in the Big Spring Junior Women’s Club; and parent volunteer for the Big Spring Aquatics Club and Band Parents. Mary Beth Miller nominated Sally for the Hall of Fame because Sally has “led a life exemplified to family, community, school and to God.”


The entire community has benefited from Sally’s musical and theatrical talent. She had a memorable comic interpretation of the classic Gone With the Wind curtain scene in one of the Newville Community Musical programs. She has also been involved in Newville Community Theater, Shippensburg Alumni Choir, Cantate Carlisle and others, and she has made musical visits on behalf of Hospice. She has always been a participant and leader in her choir and other church musical groups. She was also a faithful Sunday School teacher for more than 35 years.


For the rest of the inductees see:

What are you working on, Simpson Library?

Librettos, social justice, dirt bike racing -- there are certain things about which you cannot go halfway. When people embrace what they love, they end up places like PennLive's What are you working on? series. The library's job is to join you in what you love, and Mechanicsburg's Joseph T. Simpson Public Library is at work now on a new campaign that will demonstrate that to its community: Geek the Library.


About the Simpson Library

According to Adult Services Librarian and Volunteer Coordinator Rebecca Swanger, the Simpson Library, as a public library, exists "to serve our community. Public libraries build diverse collections, but we also grow our collections based on our community."


And the Simpson Library is looking to grow. Library Director Sue Erdman says, "We want to remind people about the immense value public libraries have for individuals and for our community and that no matter what your passion is, the library can provide information and resources for you."


"Many people still believe that the library is a dusty place filled only with books," says Swanger, "Well it's true that we still maintain large book collections, but we also offer all sorts of other materials: free Internet access, DVDs, music CDs, video games, magazines, and newspapers. You name it, and one of our libraries probably has it. And if we don't, we'll try our hardest to borrow it from another library!"


The Simpson Library plans to tap into its community's passions by participating in a new nationwide campaign, Geek the Library. "In essence," says Swanger, Geek the Library "is a way to grab the community's attention and express to them that we support them and their interests. The library is for the community and we want them to take advantage of our services!"


About Geek the Library

So, what is "geeking" the library, and why is the Simpson Library doing it?


Geek the Library is a nation-wide public awareness marketing campaign, and the Simpson Library plans to launch their campaign at their municipal breakfast on Wednesday, Oct. 9. "The underlying message to this campaign is that everyone has something they geek -- something they are passionate about," says Swanger, "and the public library supports it all."


"To geek," by the way, is defined as: to love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to have an intense passion for; to express interest in; to possess a large amount of knowledge in; to promote.


"Many people love the library," says Swanger. "They know that it supports everyone. They know about all the things that the library offers to the community -- books, DVDs, video games, programs, a safe place, meeting rooms, and more -- but this is only a segment of our community. We want to get the message out to more people, especially those who do not frequent the library regularly. The Joseph T. Simpson Library supports them, and we have a lot more to offer than most people realize!"


With Geek the Library, the Simpson Library wants to promote itself as a place where anyone can find what they enjoy. "We are trying," says Swanger, "to create what's called an ambient awareness of the library in the community. This means that as we put up posters and advertise the library around the community -- in businesses and meeting places as well as on social media -- so people will be more aware of us and what we offer. Next time someone thinks, 'I need to learn about X,Y,Z,' or, 'I really want to watch this movie,' they'll be more likely to think of us!"



About the library in the community

Look out for posters in the Simpson Library! They will star librarians as well as prominent members of the Mechanicsburg community. "We're going to make 'GeekBoards' on which people coming in to the library can write what they geek." And they can geek anything -- chess, Middle Eastern cooking, the history of psychiatric medicine -- you name it. "They get to talk about what they love," says Swanger, "and we get to know more about what the community is passionate about."


Local businesses can get in on the action, too. "We will reach out to local businesses and ask them if they would like to be featured on a poster to hang in their business. Say we feature the owner of a pizza shop on a poster. They're probably going to say, 'I Geek Pizza.'" -- PennLive can get down with that -- "It is a mutually beneficial relationship -- people see the poster and want to learn more about it and the library, and the business gets good publicity."


Look forward to seeing the Simpson librarians out in the community. "We will go to events with our Geek stuff and ask people what they geek. We'll bring the GeekBoards for people to write on, give out some stickers and other freebies and talk up the library and our services!" Any kind of events are game, and they are excited to march in the Halloween parade on Tuesday, Oct. 8.


Geek the Library will run from October to early June, and during that time, Simpson Library programming to reflect the Geek campaign. "For example," says Swanger, "our knitting club -- Chicks with Sticks -- may be called 'I Geek Knitting.' By doing that, we may draw in people who didn't know we offered the program!"


"It's a bad idea for us to assume that our community knows our value and what we do to support them," says Swanger. "We want the community to know that we support them, whatever their passion is!"


The Simpson Library wants everyone to come in and share what they geek. "If they'd like to be featured on a poster we can take their picture!" says Swanger. "This campaign is about the community so we're featuring all sorts of people. I'm going to have an area by the entrance where I'll put a 'Geek of the Week' along with materials that are related to what they geek!"


For the launch, the Simpson Library will be giving away bookmarks, bumper stickers, postcards and more. Stop by the Geek the Library launch on Oct. 9 to enjoy refreshments and compete for "Most Unique Geek."


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