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A conversation with Holly Etzweiler, Harrisburg School District Librarian

Sunday June 7th, 2020

Holly Etzweiler

It was Star Wars Day -- May the 4th, of course – and Holly Etzweiler downloaded “Are You Scared, Darth Vader?” from The Library. She read the book aloud to her Zoom class, complete with prerecorded clips of Vader’s quotes via an app that made her voice sound like the breathy villain himself.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do that over distance learning if I didn’t have access to the Library to get this book,” Holly says. “It was just perfect. The kids liked it. The teachers thought it was hilarious.”

After 15 years in multiple roles with The Library, Holly made a career change in fall 2019. As Harrisburg School District’s K-4 Downey School’s librarian, she leverages The Library’s resources to expand and enrich learning opportunities for students and colleagues.

The lifelong learner and resident of Elizabethville, northern Dauphin County, also sewed nearly 500 face masks, raising $1,000 for her school to buy books for its library. 

How does The Library help schools?: Working at The Library, you see everything it offers – the books, the programs, the online experience. Schools are financially challenged. If we can use the resources of The Library, it gives us so much more educational power.

What services are especially helpful: I use Ask a Librarian for suggestions on booklists. We also do “zones of regulation,” which teaches children how to deal with different emotions, and The Library created a list of books to go with them, like happy, sad, irritated, upset. With a donation from a church, we bought those books for teacher collections so they’ll always have access to them.

How have you used The Library’s online services?: During the shutdown, I do not have access to my school or local library, and ordering books just isn’t efficient. Thanks to downloading eBooks from dcls.org, I can read books to the children over Zoom, and they can see the pictures. If I didn’t have The Library, I wouldn’t be able to do my job.

One of the teachers asked where I got an online book I read to a Zoom class. I told her about Hoopla and helped her get a Library card. She found a book to read to her kids the next day. She wouldn’t have had that book if it wasn’t for The Library.

How does The Library help your students?: The Dauphin County Library System is opening up the world for these kids. They don’t know all this behind-the-scenes stuff. They just know they’re getting amazing books, and they’re having a great time. That’s what’s important. The kids are having fun, and they’re learning.


June First-2-Know


The above piece represents the views of the author and is meant to inspire dialogue and increase understanding and a sense of community. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of The Library. Members are welcome to comment below or contact us privately by using our online contact form >