The Library is the great equalizer, it gives access to every child.

Since her childhood in the Florida panhandle, Carole DeSoto has always loved books and reading.

“Going to the library was very important to me and added to my life,” she says. “From a small town, you can connect with the world.”

In the mid-1960s, DeSoto brought that sense of discovery to her new home in the Upper Dauphin County town of Elizabethville. The town had no library then, but DeSoto joined the construction planning committee and welcomed the opening of the Elizabethville Area Library in 1976.

“The library was the first service that gave some outreach to the people of Elizabethville, especially the children,” says DeSoto, who operated two child care centers in the region for 18 years. “The summer reading program added so much to what kids could do. The Library became a focus of the community.”

For 23 years, DeSoto served on the Dauphin County Library System board, representing Upper Dauphin County. Though she has lived in Lemoyne for 10 years, she supported the Your Place to Belong expansion campaign by naming the stair tower that links the historic McCormick Riverfront Library and Haldeman Haly House. She looks forward to seeing the project’s goal of creating a unified community space for exploration and dialog come to fruition.

What do you appreciate about The Library? It’s wonderful the way The Library has kept up with the times. For instance, I marvel that you can check out a book and have it sent to your iPad. Under the leadership of Executive Director Karen Cullings and her team, The Library is going in a great direction. 

Why do you support the Your Place to Belong campaign? It’s exciting that The Library was able to buy the Haldeman Haly House next door. I love the plans to tie the two together. It’s the future of the Dauphin County Library System to have such a prominent place in downtown Harrisburg to continue its mission. I support organizations that add enrichment to a community and make it a better place to live, and The Library definitely gets “five stars” in that category!

What do you like best in the expansion? The dedicated children’s room is very exciting.  I’ve always thought of The Library as the great equalizer. It gives access to every child, no matter their background and circumstances. They can work on computers, check out books, or attend educational programs. It makes a tremendous difference in a child’s life to have this opportunity.