A note from our Executive Director

Belonging at The Library

The Library exists to answer your questions, support your learning, and fuel your dreams.

Much of today’s headlines describe the differences that separate us—personal, medical, political, and digital—instead of the things that bring us together. Our community needs a place where everyone is accepted, respected, and given the freedom to explore the world on their own terms. The need for a safe, inspired, and informed community, led The Library to recreate itself as “Your Place to Belong.”

During the pandemic, The Library created “Your Place to Belong” in some exciting and adaptive ways, both physically and virtually. Online eBook access, curbside delivery, and outreach services provided at community sites helped us stay in touch with our members. Some of these changes created a more inclusive way to serve you and continue to influence how we move into the future.

Whether brought on by a pandemic or a community need, none of these changes happen themselves. The Library could not help the community survive a pandemic or create “Your Place to Belong” without the tireless dedication of library staff.

Staff’s efforts were led by a supportive group of Library Trustees, all volunteers. Trustees continued to provide strategic direction in a situation without a guidebook. It was inspiring to see the full strength of the library community respond so seamlessly amidst change and confusion. Our staff, trustees, volunteers, and donors all played a part in delivering on The Library’s promise of “Your Place to Belong.”

That’s why this particular Impact Report is both a summary of The Library’s service results and a thank you note to you, our supporters who make our efforts possible, and to the team of library staff and volunteers who help build community and transform lives every day. You kept the human connection alive during the most trying of times.

We could not be more grateful or more pleased to welcome you physically back to Your Place to Belong. I look forward to seeing you at The Library.

Karen S. Cullings

Executive Director

Leading with diversity

A year of book displays

Everyone is welcome at The Library. Because of your support, members from many different backgrounds saw themselves represented through our books, displays, and programs. Did you know Bates College recognized the Dauphin County Library System picture book collection as one of the most inclusive in Pennsylvania? Take a look at some of the book displays from last year!

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Serving our students

Your support provides tangible benefits to students as they learn and grow! Life for students is as busy as ever, and things are just as tough for parents, but The Library is here to help! Students in most school districts throughout Dauphin County are automatically enrolled with All Ready Access. This program makes finding the tools to finish student projects as easy as logging on to dcls.org.

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Children's Summer Reading


72 children and their parents attended in-person and outdoor pop-up programming, while 350 children participated in our online programs.

A total of 1,579 children participated in the 2021 program.

Children up to age 17 collectively read for a grand total of 1,061,903 minutes over the summer and read 39,296 books!

350 children and parents attended the Super Cool Book Parade at John Harris High School to kick off summer reading.

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The Library in the Community

Library service doesn’t stop at the library door. Connectivity and access are just as important to the people who can’t travel to a library. Finding new and creative ways to meet people where they are, The Library outreach team is active as ever and has spent the last two years partnering with other community organizations to serve the community’s most vulnerable. Thanks to you, many of the city’s most challenged citizens had reliable access to free data and charging stations provided by MARCO, The Library’s mobile exploration van.

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Bringing Resources to Dauphin County Prison

In 2021, The Library formed an exciting new partnership with the Dauphin County Prison to develop our region’s first Digital Prison Library. Safety concerns at the prison led administrators to eliminate their entire print collection in favor of tablets. The tablets, which came at no cost to the prison, offered access to some information and were a step in the right direction. However, the materials detainees required for educational, spiritual, and cultural fulfillment were limited. The prison was looking for ways to provide easier access to content that would benefit inmates on their journey to reentry.

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The Library By the Numbers