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Bosler Memorial Library in Carlisle celebrates grand reopening

The historic Bosler Memorial Library celebrated its grand reopening Sunday after a five-year project to add on to the library.


Patrons wandered throughout the library at 158 W. High St., Carlisle. It was the perfect opportunity to explore the 38,000-square-foot facility and the expansions and renovations it has received. Library staff escorted visitors on tours of the building, while others walked around at their own leisure. Others took advantage of the computers while some showed children to books in the youth services wing.


“We took a library that was already working well for over a hundred years,” said Jeffrey Wood, president of the library’s board of trustees. “We faced a rather desperate shortage of space and services and programs to provide in that library.”


The library’s community room was packed with those who came to see the library during the grand reopening. Abc27 News’ Valerie Pritchett served as the mistress of ceremonies, and speakers included Sen. Pat Vance, R-31, Library Director Linda Rice and Development Officer Molly Shane. Nancy George, campaign chair for the Building a Better Bosler campaign, saw the reopening as the “results” of generosity. Vance agreed.


“This is the culmination of so many years of hard, hard work, and good leadership, because none of this happens without people who are willing to step forward and lead,” she said.



The library’s improvements took a lot of time, planning and money. Wood said five to six years of planning led to a campaign to raise funds for those improvements. A total of $6.5 million was needed for the ambitious project. Wood said some declared that it could not be done, but $2.5 million alone was raised from the state. Another $4 million was raised in what Wood called an “ask process,” which involved asking individuals, institutions and corporations.


Along with raising the funds necessary to make the additions came a lot of planning. Wood is deeply interested in the history of Carlisle. He called the library an “architectural jewel” of downtown, and said the additions were built in a way that honored the library’s history. He also pointed out that the library’s stained glass window, dubbed Lila’s Window, in the eastern wing of the library remains and is complimented by the additions. Before the additions, the library was 17,000 square feet.


“We’re at 97 percent of that ($6.5 million), so the library is done,” he said, but said there were some finishing touches that needed done.


Finishing touches

Some work still remains, as parking is an issue with the library. Wood said Grace United Methodist Church behind the library has provided additional parking, but that will end with the merging of Carlisle’s three Methodist churches. He said the Borough of Carlisle sent a letter before construction began to do all they could to provide 75 to 100 additional spaces within a block of the library.


“As you know, that hasn’t occurred yet,” he said.


Other options currently being weighed include using meters to increase the turnover time or utilizing the borough’s parking garage. He hopes that the issue will be solved sometime this year, but said the process so far has been progressing “frustratingly slowly.”



Despite some last-minute touches, those who saw the library said they liked what they saw.


Emma Mader, of Smethport, was at the ceremony with her grandparents. She visited the library when she was younger, and noted how different it looks now.


“It’s remarkable how much it’s changed since the last time I saw it,” she said.


She said the organization has also improved. She tried finding a book she liked when she was a child, and she said she found it in a matter of minutes.


Lydia Kazmaier, of Carlisle, was also impressed with the library. She just moved into town and has been utilizing the library’s services and said she would continue to do so. She commended the efforts of those that helped make the ambitious expansion become a reality.


“I think a lot of people put a lot of effort to try to fix up the library, and it looks really great,” she said.


Estate sale raises $7,000 for library

Friends of the Shippensburg Public Library raised $7,000 during their estate sale in April. The funds are contributed to the capital campaign for the upcoming Shippensburg Public Library expansion.


Taking months to plan, the sale involved many volunteer hours sorting and displaying the items contributed and staffing the sale itself. Donated items came from members of the Friends, the library board, library staff and friends in the community. Local merchants supported the event by donating gift certificates and merchandise, and Friends members contributed baked items as well. The sale was at the Branch Creek Center, now owned by the library and a part of the expansion project.


Items remaining from the sale will be sold at auction at a time and location to be announced later.



Bosler Memorial Library in Carlisle will celebrate grand re-opening on June 2

Bosler Memorial Library, 158 W High St., Carlisle, will celebrate a grand re-opening of its new facility 2-4 p.m. June 2.


The lobby of the renovated Bosler Memorial Library.Barbara Miller, The Building a Better Bosler capital campaign raised almost $6.3 million for the building project.


The event will include refreshments, musical entertainment and tours. Special remarks and donor recognition will be at 2:30 p.m.


The library moved into its expanded quarters in December. The project was completed in two phases: first, building a south addition on the rear parking lot, and then renovating the library’s west and east wings. The library doubled in size.


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Love for Steelers help drives Mechanicsburg library auction

The Joseph T. Simpson Public Library credits Steelers Country for the library’s recent success with its online auction.


Last week’s auction involved some feverish bidding on four tickets to the Steelers’ home game this fall. The home game tickets were both the top grossing and the most bid upon item in the auction. Another Steelers item — a Hines Ward autographed helmet — was also in the top five.


Overall, the 180 items on the auction block helped the library net almost $10,000, surpassing the library’s goal of $6,000 for the auction.


“Our event was incredibly successful because of donor generosity and the enthusiastic competitiveness of our auction bidders,” said Library Director Sue Edrman.


Other favorites in the online auction were a weekend getaway to Gervasi Vineyard, Hotel Hershey Resort and Spa gift certificate, a hot air balloon ride, an iPad and specialty baked goods.



Carlisle library director retiring after 42 years promoting reading

CARLISLE — Linda Rice’s 42-year library career has taken her from an old Sunoco gas station in Huntingdon, W.Va., to the newly renovated $6.5 million Bosler Memorial Library.

After seeing a generation pass through the doors of Bosler, Rice decided to retire at the end of June and informed the library board of her plan a year ago.

“I’m tired — it’s time,” Rice said. “I’ve been the director 25 years … It’s time to turn it over to a younger generation.”


Rice started her library career out of college as a clerk in the children’s department of a library in Huntingdon, W.Va. Two years later, in 1973 she was promoted to librarian of a new branch — in a former gas station.


“The first day I saw it, it still had lifts and grease on the walls. We painted and poured concrete and turned it into a library,” she said. “Librarians do it all — we’re not prima donnas.”


When Rice came to Bosler Library in 1985 as a reference and adult services librarian, there were no computers, and no way for patrons to see the holdings of the other libraries in the county.


Standalone computers came to Bosler in 1990, and in 2000 there was the first computer lab.


Classes were held for 50 and older patrons who had never touched a mouse, said Rice, who recalled an 86-year-old man who was thrilled to have received his first email from his grandson. “That was priceless to me,” she said.


Today, Bosler has 78 computers for staff and the public, with 30 percent more added in the expansion.


“The Internet changed everything,” she said, allowing all libraries to have access to the same databases and information, which she said “levels the playing field for everyone. You can be in your robe and pink fuzzy slippers and go on our website at 3 a.m. and do your research.”


Rice still recalls the first reference question they answered using the Internet: “What is the address of the space camp?”  Huntsville, Ala. — up it popped. It was almost instant gratification,” she said. “We couldn’t find it in our books. We would have had to contact NASA.”


The library’s circulation in her first year as director was 132,000. Now, it’s more than 500,000, and helps Cumberland County Library System’s ranking as the busiest per capita in the state. There were 13 employees in 1988, and 39 today.


Books on tape evolved into e-books. Some day, Rice said she believes libraries will be streaming movies, once bandwidth constraints are addressed. Right now libraries are still in a “shake-down period” with publishers over the cost and availability of the books, she said, but patrons are finding ways to access them. The system’s patrons rank third in the state in users of the Free Library of Philadelphia, which has a large collection of free e-books.


Rice’s retirement plans include relaxing at her Carlisle home with her two dogs, and getting things done around the house. “I’m a homebody,” she said.


A new director for Bosler has been named — Jeffrey Swope, who has been coordinator of youth services at Dauphin County Library System for the past three years, and was an assistant library director in Williamsport. With his youth services background, Rice said she hopes he will launch new services for teens, who so far haven’t had a lot of library programming directed toward them.


Despite the advancing technology, Rice doesn’t doubt books will remain on library shelves for a long time to come. “I think people will still be reading books, children will still be coming in to get picture books. The kids are where it all starts,” she said.


“I think there will always be somebody carrying a stack of books out of here to sit on their back porch and read, or soak in the bathtub and read,” she said, joking that may be “the dinosaur point of view.”




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