Why I Support the Library: State Sen. John DiSanto
Back when state Sen. John DiSanto, R-Dauphin/Perry counties, was “having fun and making trouble,” his idea of a real treat included taking the bus with his family to the cavernous State Library.
“You can imagine being a little kid and walking in,” he says today. “My mom would get out one big map book, which was exciting, and she would allow us to borrow a book.”
DiSanto’s mother was a voracious reader and a Dauphin County Library System volunteer. She surrounded her kids with literature, and future builder DiSanto would plunge into adventure tales or books about “building stuff – the Hoover Dam, the Empire State Building.”
Today, he maintains strong ties to The Library. Whether he’s visiting Madeline L. Olewine Memorial Library for a Black history program or having long talks with residents at Elizabethville Area Library, he notes: “They’ve all been fun.”
What are you reading? I read multiple books at the same time. Right now, they include The Jefferson Bible. Thomas Jefferson was a spiritual guy, but he didn’t support organized religion. He believed the Gospels were the true source of the word. So, he got four different Bibles, in Latin, French, Greek, and English, and he cut out appropriate passages. There’s no commentary. You have to try to interpret what he’s saying.
I always read The Federalist Papers. That keeps my blood flowing. With all the nonsense in the world, all you need, in my opinion, are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and The Federalist Papers. All your answers are there.
How have you connected with the Library as a state senator? I’ve supported a number of grant applications, and we’ve been successful in helping get them. We were also able to get $5 million in additional funding for libraries statewide in this past budget, which was quite a feat. Many times, libraries are running under the radar in the Legislature, so I try to keep them in front of the leadership.
What do you notice when you visit The Library? It’s interesting how libraries have changed since I was a kid – how they’re helping people that don’t have access at home get access to information, and how they’re used for community meetings. I have a new appreciation for The Library.
How does The Library support your constituency? The staff helps people, whether it’s with job applications or research. For most people, technology is just a part of our lives. We think everybody has it, but some people do not have access to technology. The Library helps a lot of people. They’re a real asset to the community.