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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."

Pumpkin painting and pony rides mark the beginning of fall

“The more glue, the better,” joked Sarah Baughman as she watched her son, Tyler, dab yet another spot of glue onto his pumpkin Saturday at the Fall Festival. He kept adding items like little felt mummies and vampires to his masterpiece, while his younger sister, Nicole, searched for yet another feather for her own creation.

Housed under a tent outside the John Graham Public Library, elementary-aged children painted pumpkins and created scarecrows. Then, they proudly revealed the finished product to their parents with pride.

“Our fall festival has blossomed and expanded every year,” Bob Over said as singer Wil Carmichael played easy listening tunes for the crowd. He said that the event is a “kid-oriented” fund-raiser for the Friends of the Library.

Over and his wife, Linda, are the original coordinators of the event, but have given most of that responsibility over to Dave and Lorie Howland.

“We were mobbed even before we opened at 10 (a.m.),” said Lorie.

She said the Friends of the Library sold out of about 100 fall mums very quickly. And, although Lorie and her husband did some of the coordination, she said Bob and Linda “still had to do a 100 things.”

“The big feature is the dime toss,” Over said.

Children could win plates, mugs, glasses, mugs, figurines and other wares.

“It’s a good kick-off to the fall season,” said Newville resident Ellen Cherricks about the festival, as one of her three children begged for more money to play the dime toss. Cherricks was already holding bowls, drinking glasses, a flowerpot and a wooden whistle.

Earlier, the children went on a five-minute hayride through the Borough of Newville.

“The hayride was wonderful,” said Cherricks. “They liked the tractor.”

Another feature was the pony rides in the backyard of the library.

“I always ride the pony,” said 8-year-old Natalia Darr.

She said she got a little scared when the saddle moved while riding, but other than that “it was fun.”

The library’s director, Mary Schoedel, said she thought the festival had a “good turnout” and was glad the event could bring more attention to the library. She said most of the day’s proceeds would go toward purchasing books and a new paper shredder.

Over said Friends of the Library donations over the years have helped to paint the library, to update the building’s electrical wiring and to purchase a new air conditioner.


Great Books create even greater discussions, library group says


What’s better than reading a really “great” book?


For the members of the Great Books Discussion Group at New Cumberland Public Library, it’s reading at least parts of one, and then getting together to talk about it.


The group, which formed more than 50 years ago, is based on the Great Books Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization that started in 1947 at the University of Chicago to promote critical thinking and social and civic engagement of readers. The original idea of Great Books was that reading the collection of about 100 books would result in a well-rounded person.


Some readers have been members for more than 20 years, and with a current roster of 14, the club welcomes new readers, said member Tony Guida of Lower Paxton Twp. The day meeting time does attract many retired people to the group, but Guida believes there are lots of potential members out there.


“I’m not saying it will go viral, but there is a place for this sort of thing,” he said. “I'm amazed by people who seem like Renaissance people and do all the things regular people do, but who have this extra gear,” Guida said. “There is talent all around us…It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have. All you need is an interest in books.”


The group picks the selections they will read each season, which are usually from the Great Books’ anthologies. For this session, the authors range from Mark Twain to John Locke in a Conversation Series book.


“In this group you only have to read 20 to 30 pages, so most can find time to do that in the two-week period,” said Dan Tepsic, group coordinator. “It’s hard in this day and age to read a novel in two weeks,” he said. “I have trouble finding time to do that.”


Among the current members are a retired lawyer, accountant and social worker, someone who once studied at Oxford, and several who have no formal education beyond high school.


“I like to read and I like to discuss what I read,” said Lauretta Lombardo of Camp Hill, a retired educational administrator who joined the group about 14 years ago.


Louise Hutchinson of Hershey, a former dietician, has more of a science than literature background. “I came here to catch up, since my education didn’t include those literature courses,” she said.


“I’ve been reading Great Books for about 25 years,” said Bill Miller, a retired lawyer, who led the Sept. 11 discussion on H.G. Wells’ story, “The Man Who Could Work Miracles.” Members take turns leading the discussion, taking the lead from questions in the Great Books’ guide.


Miller said the group introduced him to some works he probably wouldn’t have read otherwise, including graphic novels. He also is a member of another book club at the library that meets the first and third Monday nights at the library, which follows a somewhat different format for discussions.


The H.G. Wells story was about a man who found he could will things to happen, and brought about chaos when he caused the earth to stop turning. The members had a spirited two-hour discussion about what the story was really about. For Guida, it was "wishes and their implications,” while Lombardo read into it a theme of leaders abusing power, as well as a satire on religion.


Rick DeLuca, a retired English and philosophy professor, went so far as to say he didn’t think it was a very good piece of literature, and questioned why it was in the book in the first place.


Even though some of the Great Books were written hundreds of years ago, Lombardo said many transcend time. “We discuss them as if they were written yesterday, and ask if these ideas in these characters still exist today. Are they prominent in human nature?” Lombardo said. If not, that sometimes leads to the most controversy in discussions, she added.


Tepsic said what attracted him to the group about 20 years ago was the chance to discuss “all the great thinkers of the past – philosophers, political theorists, great novelists.”


“To me it’s almost like being in college again and discussing the great themes of life…It’s almost like attending a seminar, I guess is the best way to describe it,” Tepsic said.


“These themes might have been written many, many years ago, but in terms of human conduct they are still relevant today. That’s what particularly interesting – how it applies in today’s society.”


Members agree to disagree, within reason. “We don’t want to ruin a good friendship,” Guida added. “All opinions are welcome. There are no ill feelings, but a little heat is sometimes welcome,” Tepsic said.


Four years ago, Guida said he was getting ready to retire, and was looking for some new things to do. He thought he had a pretty good liberal acts background, but found there was a lot of classic literature he hadn’t read before.


“It was a real pleasure to meet these people and have this kind of discussion, and find out there are all these kindred spirits out there,” he said. “It fulfilled something for me. I like how these people have such inquiring minds,” Guida said.


A Great Books group has also formed at Cleve Fredricksen Library in Camp Hill, which meets at 10 a.m. Wednesdays, said director Bonnie Goble. It uses compilations of short stories, she said, and is currently full.



What it is:  New Cumberland Library Great Books Discussion Group

Where: 1 Benjamin Plaza, New Cumberland

When: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., second and fourth Wednesdays of each month

Info: 774-7820



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