The Dauphin County Library System : Open for Discovery

Nominate Someone for a Haly Award 2008

Impact Award:

The Dauphin County Commissioners
The Dauphin County Commissioners have established themselves
as both effective managers of the county budget and dedicated caretakers of the citizens’ welfare. In an outstanding example of this, the Commissioners responded to DCLS’s 2008 request for help in facing a critical need for increased funding to maintain quality library service by providing a $1.7 million boost to income—at no additional expense to Dauphin County taxpayers.  This investment in public library service will allow DCLS to manage projected decreases in state library support and continue to offer quality public library service at its eight libraries for the next three years. The Commissioners are heartening examples of officials who understand both the financial and human impact of public service institutions like DCLS. Their bi-partisan commitment to funding the library was based on a solid understanding that they were funding everything from storytimes for children to helping out-of-work adults build job skills and find new employment. Their ongoing support of literacy, education and workforce development is commendable and beneficial to all who live and work in Dauphin County.

Organization of the Year:

“Connecting the Community in the Heart of Hummelstown” Capital Campaign Steering Committee
The “Connecting the Community in the Heart of Hummelstown” Capital Campaign Steering Committee is a group of community volunteers who, in 2007, took on the challenge of raising $1.5 million in order to make plans for a new library in the Hummelstown area a reality. Led by co-chairs Dr. Judith Witmer and William S. Jackson, the group has worked together to build community awareness and support for the library project. They have successfully overcome the challenges that came their way, including project estimates that exceeded original expectations and an economic climate that changed dramatically during the course of the campaign. At the time of this writing, the campaign is within $110,000 of its goal. Ground will be broken for the new library in May, an inspiring accomplishment in the best of times, but one particularly worthy of recognition in today’s difficult economy.

Committee members include:
Dr. Judith Witmer, Co-Chair
William S. Jackson, Co-Chair
Marion C. Alexander     
Susan Dahmus
Jerry Kling          
Patricia Krow
Barbara Miller   
Marcela Myers
Jerry Peacock   
Patrice Pettis
Joan Spire          
Dr. Marian Sutter
Susan Wert        
Lynne Yost

Person of the Year:

Marion C. Alexander 
Marion C. Alexander has served on the DCLS Board of Trustees for various terms and in many capacities for 17 of the last 21 years.  During her tenure, she has held all the Board offices including President and has been a major driving force in fundraising for the library system. Marion served as Advisory Council Chair for the “Libraries are for LIFE” Capital Campaign, and Major Gifts Committee Chair for the “Connecting the Community in the Heart of Hummelstown” Capital Campaign. She has helped to secure sponsorships for the DCLS annual Service Excellence Awards Dinner, and provided critical contacts and assistance in many other projects. Most recently, she served as Chair of the DCLS Development Committee during the period of the Hummelstown capital campaign. Marion’s devotion to giving does not end with asking others. She and her family demonstrated their longtime support of libraries and learning by providing the naming gift for the William H. & Marion C. Alexander Family Library being built in Hummelstown, the naming gift for the H.B. & Grace Alexander Community room at the Madeline L. Olewine Memorial Library in uptown Harrisburg, and have made many other gifts over the years. Marion provides a stellar example of dedicated community service and commitment.

Volunteer of the Year:

Jean Houseal
Jean first volunteered for DCLS in 1986 at Kline (Village) Library. She stopped by one day while walking in the neighborhood.  “I was looking for something to do on Monday and Fridays and I found it,” she says. Jean usually volunteers nine or more hours a week, on Monday, Thursday and Friday. In 2008 she gave DCLS approximately 380 hours of her time. Jean saw computers come into use at DCLS.  At that time she said to her supervisor, “I guess you won't need me anymore!” Instead she learned that computer training was in store for her.  Today she is as proficient as the other staff in computer usage.  She helps with the book drop and the pull list, along with other projects as she has time. Jean says that the variety in her long list of tasks is wonderful. “I guess I’ve done about everything there is to do at Kline at some time or another.” She will complete her 23rd year at Kline Library in August and calls her years at Kline a “labor of love.” She also serves on the Friends of Kline Library board and just finished up her third consecutive year as the secretary for that group. Jean Houseal is truly a treasure – and a dedicated volunteer. DCLS couldn’t do what we do without her.


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