Community Outreach and the Public Library

     The Adams County Library System (ACLS) has six brick and mortar locations across the county in Gettysburg, Biglerville, Carroll Valley, East Berlin, Littlestown and New Oxford. What people may not be aware of is that our services routinely extend beyond these buildings. Staff members venture into schools, senior centers, the local prison, preschools, and more. We are fortunate to be able to collaborate with local organizations, provide information booths at community events, and even have a library by mail program. The library strives to weave itself into all facets of the community, because as the posters in our libraries state, “Libraries are for Everyone.”
     Here is a sampling of current community outreach activities. Emily Holland of the New Oxford Area Library loves to help residents at Cross Keys Village with digital library services twice a month, and also creates library cards for them on the spot. Attendees at Carroll Valley’s annual trunk-or-treat program will see Carroll Valley Library’s Sherrie DeMartino and Crystal Durbin the Friday before Halloween as the teen book club hosts a haunted house at the pavilion.
     Sherry Feeser of the Jean Barnett Trone Memorial Library of East Berlin partners with Diana Fasnacht of United Way of Adams County to deliver two programs for parents of young children. In “Reaching Home” they share information about library services and tips on what and how to read to young children with parents incarcerated at the Adams County Prison. They record the parent reading a book of choice to the child, and send the book and recording home with the child. In “Never 2 Young 2 Read” they present at various SCCAP programs, sharing library services and reading tips, and giving children books, games and a backpack.
     During September, Adams County first graders will be visited at school by ACLS staff members and Elmo as part of the My 1st Card initiative. Children can apply for a library card, and will receive prizes when they visit any Adams County library. One lucky school will win a school visit by noted children’s author and illustrator Matt Phelan! This initiative has been coordinated by George Matthew of the Gettysburg Library and is sponsored by ACNB.
     Moreover, library materials can be sent for free to any Adams County resident who is unable to visit a library branch. Patrons request specific titles, or ask library staff to choose from areas of interest. The items arrive in the mail, and are returned using the enclosed postage-paid return label. Register for Library by Mail by calling 334-0163 or by visiting
     Finally, Kaila Waybright and I have been excited to visit classes at the Upper Adams Middle School and Biglerville High School. Students applied for library cards, learned how to access e-books and e-audiobooks, and we talked up our new teen area! A room has been renovated just for teens, funded by the Harbaugh-Thomas Foundation. It offers gaming computers, a study room, manga and graphic novels, supplies for STEAM activities, board games and a place to read and meet friends after school. Teen programming has expanded to include a writers group, game nights, craft nights and more.
     Community outreach meets people wherever they are, and is one way the ACLS connects people to opportunities that enrich their lives, making a stronger, more vibrant community for us all.

Submitted by Barbara Buckley, Branch Manager of the Harbaugh-Thomas Library