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Don’t overlook everything library has to offer: Susannah Gal

Posted 10/16/19

Have you checked out our local library recently? If not, you should.

I’ve talked previously about the wonderful things we have in town such as the library. I was impressed again this past …

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Don’t overlook everything library has to offer: Susannah Gal

The Middletown Public Library held a Local Author Event on Saturday, Oct. 12. About 30 people attended, according to library director John Grayshaw. In the back row left to right are Russell Burden, Natalie Damschroder, Margret Houser, Nancy Avolese, J. Anne Lezsley and Leta Hawk. In the front row are Misty Simon, Nicole Zoltack and E. Sickler. Burden, Houser, Avolese, and Sickler are all from Middletown. The other authors are all from the region.
The Middletown Public Library held a Local Author Event on Saturday, Oct. 12. About 30 people attended, according to library director John Grayshaw. In the back row left to right are Russell Burden, Natalie Damschroder, Margret Houser, Nancy Avolese, J. Anne Lezsley and Leta Hawk. In the front row are Misty Simon, Nicole Zoltack and E. Sickler. Burden, Houser, Avolese, and Sickler are all from Middletown. The other authors are all from the region.
Posted

Have you checked out our local library recently? If not, you should.

I’ve talked previously about the wonderful things we have in town such as the library. I was impressed again this past month when I went to check some things out. My husband and I sometimes get DVDs there to watch on the weekends. We also get books on CD when we have a long drive ahead of us. I love mysteries and checked out an audio book of Sue Grafton’s “V is for Vengeance.” It sure made the three-hour trip to Binghamton, New York, last month pass by faster.

We also get books to read as well. If our library doesn’t have the book you want, they are linked to libraries in Hershey and elsewhere that may have what you’re looking for. You can request those books and they are delivered right to our library here for you to pick up.

There are also computers and WiFi — the latter of which I used when I first came into town and didn’t have Internet access at the apartment I was renting.

There are also a number of events such as yoga, Lego club, story time, and STEM clubs for kids of various ages to learn about science, technology, engineering and math. They also do book sales with great deals on titles you might not find everywhere.

Last spring, my husband found a cookbook showcasing unique breads you can bake. He hasn’t made anything yet using a recipe from this book, although I hope he will soon.

Last weekend, there was an event at the Middletown Public Library at which about nine local authors talked about books they’ve written. That was super fun as I got to talk with some of our local celebrities and learn how they chose the subjects they did and what motivates them to write the next book.

I found out one of my acquaintances, Margaret Houser, is an author. She was talking about her book titled “He is Her Friend” about the special relationship her daughter had with her husband. They both had intellectual disabilities; individually and together they accomplished a lot. I can’t wait to listen to her book on the CD.

Librarians are also such cool people, and always ready to be a resource. You might remember that I’m a faculty member at Penn State Harrisburg and also at my previous institution, Binghamton University in upstate New York. At Binghamton, I served for a year as the interim dean of libraries. That’s when I learned so much about what goes into supporting the university faculty and students to succeed in their classes and scholarly pursuits.

Librarians find resources such as videos and special books for the faculty to teach students; they maintain databases that allow access to numerous journals with the most up-to-date research needed by faculty and students to keep up with their fields.

Librarians meet one-on-one with students or in groups to assist them with specific research for assignments they might be preparing for a class they are taking. They also often maintain archival material for the university or the local community; these historical records allow us to better understand our current situation and provide perspective.

I oversaw about 78 librarians and library staff at Binghamton University for that year and encouraged them to let others know how much they were doing for the university. The image one of the staff used was of a duck calmly floating on a lake or river; under water, however, their feet are paddling away madly to keep up with all of the new work being published or put up on the Internet.

Local librarians also have a major impact on young people. The Sept. 27 StoryCorps interview on National Public Radio had a piece about a school librarian who helped a young man when he took a book without checking it out.

As Olly Neal, now a prominent judge, told the interviewer, it wasn’t cool for him to be reading a book from the school library. When the librarians noticed him sneaking out the book, they decided they would get another book by that same author and place it in the area where the first book that the young man took resided.

When the young man returned the first book to the bookshelf, he was surprised by the appearance of another book by the same author. He took that book and read it. When he returned that second book, there was a third. Olly credits these librarians with getting him into reading and his eventual career.

At the author event, local writer Natalie Damschroder told me that her single mother used the library as the place the young girl could go while her mother was grocery shopping. Understandably, she fell in love with all of the possible books at her disposal.

So, go visit our local library and you won’t be disappointed. Let me know what you like to do there!

Susannah Gal is a professor of biology at Penn State Harrisburg, and is a member of the Press & Journal Editorial Board. She has lived around the world and made Middletown her home in 2015. She can be reached at susannahgal1000@gmail.com.