We truly believe that this latest version of The Library will be a go-to.
As a lifelong educator, Anna Maria Enders knows that education and reading are the thread interwoven through all social challenges – food insecurity, prisons, homelessness.
“We absolutely know that children who grow up in underserved areas are not exposed to print and text-rich environments, and that thwarts their literacy growth in a huge way,” says Anna Maria. She retired in 2014 as interim superintendent of Cumberland Valley School District.
Now that Dauphin County Library System is deepening its community services with the expansion of McCormick Riverfront Library, she believes the community can fulfill its obligation “to do the very best that we can” for every member of society.
Anna Maria grew up in a reading family, a child of first-generation Americans who treasured education as the pathway to upward mobility. Her husband, Donald “Donnie” Enders, Jr., was in awe of her family home, where bookshelves “filled to the gills” graced every room. He vividly remembers the Dauphin County Library Bookmobile coming to his elementary school. Through high school and college, he used libraries as places for study and research.
Today, Donnie Enders is president and CEO of Enders Insurance Associates, Linglestown, a third-generation family firm committed to civic causes and community betterment. The Enders’ children were regulars at Dauphin County Library System Storytime programs, and Anna Maria is confident that the experience helped turn them into readers.
Their son, Andrew Enders, is immediate past president of The Library’s board of directors and is co-chairing the Your Place to Belong campaign. He is a leader in raising funds and community support for the renovation project turning McCormick Riverfront Library and Haldeman Haly House into a conjoined space for community discovery, dialog, and services.
How do you feel about The Library’s expansion project?
Anna Maria: Very, very excited because of the potential that it speaks of for all of us, but especially for the underserved populations. We believe that the traditional concept of a library with books on the shelf, which of course, is very important, has been expanded and enriched to provide any number of scaffolded services to help support people and entities and provide access to information. In my view, a library is one of the main hubs of a city and a community.
Donnie: Without a question, other groups in the city of Harrisburg can certainly use The Library facilities and its expansion to enrich and enhance their programs. We’re excited that the facility will be a Class A facility, and The Library will be able to continue to partner with other agencies within the city and Dauphin County.
What does the project mean from a business perspective?
Donnie: To have that facility that’s going to have high tech available for anyone who would like to use it is just phenomenal. Whether it be our employees or our clientele, the more education they have and the more information they have, the better society will be in general. Our employees and professionals are challenged with continuing their education. It doesn’t matter what topic. The Library is always a great source to enrich and enhance whatever other information is available to them. As part of a great economy and a great community, The Library is part and parcel of that.
What is the importance of the project to downtown Harrisburg?
Donnie: We’re very happy that the Dauphin County Library System is a countywide system. However, we look at the Front Street space as the flagship, and the flagship should have a little more history and a few more assets to support the rest of the system.
Anna Maria: We believe in saving and restoring historical landmarks. The history there is so rich and so deep. We truly believe that this latest version of The Library will be a go-to. It will be an attraction, and we should have a facility like that in the state capital. We very much appreciate the support of the county commissioners and their insight as leaders to continue to support the growth of The Library system.