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Dauphin County Library System partnerships enrich the community

Saturday January 8th, 2022
The Library's Partnerships

When an institution has a mission to serve the community, knowing the community’s needs is crucial to success.

That’s why Dauphin County Library System leverages a diverse array of partnerships.

“We’re trying to look outward into the community,” said Public Services Director Lori Milach. “Reaching out to organizations for partnerships helps us expand our services into the community and create more of a presence outside The Library and not just inside the buildings.”

Partnerships infuse Library services more deeply into the community and demonstrate The Library’s responsible stewardship by stretching the use of existing resources – or, in the words of Community Engagement Strategist Dominic DiFrancesco, “do more with less.”

“When I first joined The Library, I was blown away with everything that our libraries offer and how much they do with the limited number of resources available,” he said. “Our partnerships create a way for us to heighten and expand what we’re able to do, but with the same number of resources available.”

As excitement grows for The Library’s McCormick Riverfront Library-Haldeman Haly House renovation, partnerships assure a rich slate of programs and services from the moment the doors open.

“We don’t just want to be a pretty building,” said DiFrancesco. “We want to make sure we have resources and people coming in and the programming to support the space.”

Many community organizations, including The Library, share common goals, such as boosting literacy or taking health services directly to the streets. The Library seeks cooperative approaches that seed progress, said DiFrancesco.

“We’re trying to find those goals and see how The Library can assist in facilitating them, whether that be taking ownership and providing a venue, or sometimes backing off and letting somebody else take the lead,” he said.

In most partnerships, The Library offers information in various forms, from books to online resources to programming that targets the specific needs of partnering organizations to educate, enlighten, or entertain their constituencies.

Since pandemic conditions upended the community, The Library has utilized partnerships to help community members connect with their elected officials and access services, such as rental assistance. Service providers, including Capital Region Water, turned to The Library for help publicizing the availability of discounts for those enduring the economic effects of COVID.

As the community moves toward recovery from the pandemic and meaningful progress on social and racial justice, partnerships help The Library further its goal of promoting dialog, understanding, and interaction.  

The Library’s current partnerships address the community’s full range of needs. They include:

Adams and Associates: The Adams and Associates Job Corps program provides free federal residential career training for young adults. Currently, Adams and Associates lease space in McCormick Riverfront Library, generating revenue for The Library while providing essential services to a critical constituency. With the completion of the expansion, Adams and Associates will rent space in the carriage house behind McCormick Riverfront Library and Haldeman Haly House.

Penn National Insurance: The venerable insurer offered 5,000 square feet of space in its Market Square headquarters to house a new digital printer and staff offices. With the additional space donated by Penn National Insurance, a longtime partner, The Library can devote more room to services for members, instead of operations, in the renovated McCormick Riverfront Library.

Pennsylvania STEAM Academy: Harrisburg’s new charter school receives weekly visits from Library youth services staff members who introduce students to The Library’s resources. The addition of the children’s learning area in the McCormick Riverfront Library renovation could allow Pennsylvania STEAM Academy students to access a hands-on learning space for experimenting and getting messy.

Pennsylvania for Modern Courts: PMC asked The Library to host one of its Pennsylvania Appellate Courts Candidates’ Forums before the 2021 judicial races. The Library’s well-attended Commonwealth Court forum, streamed statewide, informed voters on the role of Pennsylvania’s courts and what their votes would mean. Planning is underway to present PMC’s workshops on the areas where courts touch our lives, customized to Dauphin County – court basics, protection from abuse, family courts, criminal courts, landlord-tenant courts, and how to administer an estate.

Black Girl Health Foundation: It’s a point of pride that the locally based, nationally focused Black Girl Health Foundation is partnering with The Library to deliver the foundation’s Mind Matters program for the third consecutive year in 2022. This year’s virtual program, on January 22, includes sessions on healthy cooking, yoga, coping with workplace stress, and setting goals.

Health literacy is part of The Library’s efforts to build people in their entirety. Partnering with Black Girl Health Foundation offers The Library “awareness and community connections,” said Adult Programming and Outreach Coordinator Ashley Famularo.

“Black Girl Health Foundation is specifically focused on the improvement of health for Black girls and women,’’ Famularo said. “Creating a space, specifically for Black women in the community, where they can meet and gather and celebrate for a day, even if it is virtual again this year, is something that fits with The Library’s mission.’’

 As collaborations continue to enrich The Library’s services, the door is always open.

“We’re always looking for new partnerships,” said Milach. “We’re never done. We never will be done as community organizations change, and community needs change.”

Christina Lauver
Marketing & Public Relations Manager

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 >