By M. Diane McCormick 

When Karen Love learned that Dauphin County Library System Board Member was renaming its Kline Library in honor of her parents, George and Hettie Love, she was overwhelmed.  

“It was a wonderful surprise, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a wonderful way to honor my parents, as educators, as people who gave to the community,” Love said. “My parents always wanted to be examples and uplift others and help others see the beauty of education and how we can help each other learn more.” 

On June 3, the name change became official, and the Dauphin County Library System had its first Library named after African Americans. Located in Harrisburg’s Allison Hill neighborhood, the George & Hettie Love Memorial Library embraces the name of two beloved advocates for education and literacy.  

Ryan McCrory, the Dauphin County Library System’s executive director, said plaques, pictures, and displays will introduce the Loves to Library visitors and highlight the power of people to work individually and collectively for change. 

“The Love family came through these doors and made The Library richer and more vibrant,” McCrory said. “We are entrusted with ensuring the Loves’ legacy lives on. We are proud to put the Love name on our walls, and we hope it inspires future generations to strive for positive change in our community.’’ 

Karen Love said her parents were trailblazers and an inspiration to everyone who knew them.  

Hettie Simmons Love grew up in segregated Jacksonville, FL. She graduated from Fisk University in Nashville and later went North for better opportunities. In 1947, she became the first Black woman to earn an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Her milestone accomplishment inspired the book “Hettie Simmons Love: Penn Pioneer,” by Amani Bowman. 

George Hayward Love, Sr. earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and was the first African American high school teacher in Philadelphia. 

The couple met at Penn and moved to Harrisburg in 1971, where George Love guided school desegregation as assistant commissioner for basic education in the Pennsylvania Department of Education. He later taught at Harrisburg High School and served in the Harrisburg School District administration.  

Together and separately, the Loves dove deeply into community causes. Friends called George Love a true gentleman. A leader of local fraternities and the NAACP, he never stopped advocating for education and civil rights and once sent busloads of civil rights protesters to Washington.  

Hettie Love served as treasurer of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for 22 years. With the Epsilon Sigma Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, she promoted literacy events, packed toiletries for women’s shelters, and organized heart-health events.  

Hettie and George Love enjoyed reading aloud and participated in the American Literacy Corp.’s African American Read-Ins.  

“They were not looking for accolades,” said Karen Love, a retired teacher who serves on the Super Cool Book Lovers Club that organizes the annual Super Cool Book Parade in collaboration with The Library. “They were just looking to make a difference. In addition to their mentoring, they were always available, interested, and involved.” 

The Love family, including son George, Jr., were frequent patrons of Kline Library that now bears their name.  

“Both my mother and father were avid readers, and from my early childhood, trips to The Library were very important,” Love said. “They were a great source of pleasure.” 

Karen Love said she learned to share her parents with others early in life.  

“It is truly such an honor to be their daughter and to see the impact their lives have had on the community,” she said. “I don’t even know how to describe it. I’m just overwhelmed with the opportunity to be spreading that love and that love of learning in such a meaningful way.”