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PA Department of Education Celebrates Library Groundbreaking

10/14/2021

Expansion and Renovation of Two Historic Buildings Will Provide More Space, Services for Community 

Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Education Acting Deputy Secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL) Susan Banks today joined Dauphin County Library System for the groundbreaking of the McCormick Riverfront Library and Haldeman Haly House expansion and renovation project.  

The Department of Education awarded a $750,000 Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund program grant to the Dauphin County Library System last year to support the project.  

"I am proud to be a neighbor, patron of the McCormick Riverfront Library, and supporter of Dauphin County Library System. Our local library system is a fine example of what a strong organization led by creative professionals and committed volunteers can accomplish for its community,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Banks. “The transformation of these historic buildings is a model of our shared vision of excellent and equitable library services to every Pennsylvanian."   

The new facility will include more than 3,400 square feet of space for a children’s and family area with STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math) activities, 800 square feet of community meeting space, improve ADA accessibility, and reconfigure the space and flow to minimize the spread of illness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Library describes the project as “seamlessly integrating two of the city’s most historic structures to form one vital community hub. Bridging the past and the future, this reimagined space will improve accessibility, support literacy and learning, and revitalize community connection.” 

This critical project will help to better serve Dauphin County residents, where 44 percent of children live in households under the federal poverty line. The need for services continues to grow, and in 2020, The Library’s eight locations served more than 138,000 cardholders who borrowed more than 600,000 items, and the library hosted more than 358,000 WiFi sessions with visitors spending 1.9 million minutes on their public computers. 

“Today’s groundbreaking is a first step toward allowing us to offer more public-access computers and increased educational programming for children,’’ said Karen Cullings, executive director of the Dauphin County Library System. “Whether it is to find jobs, learn new skills, examine new perspectives, or connect with others, the demand for our services has never been greater.’’ 

Dauphin County Library System provides quality public library service to the residents of Dauphin County through eight library locations, and is a private, non-profit corporation governed by a 17-member Board of Trustees, five appointed annually by the Dauphin County Commissioners, and 12 elected for three-year terms. The Library serves as one of 29 District Library Centers designated by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries to take a leadership role in coordinating library services. It has more than 351,234 books, magazines, DVDs, videos, and other items available for borrowing through the automated catalog, and offers author appearances, story times, workshops, and other events to the community. 

OCL, housed within the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), operates a major research library and collects, preserves, and connects state government, libraries, and all residents with the information and resources needed for education, enrichment, and advancement. 

For more information on libraries and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Pinterest.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander - kenalexand@pa.gov

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