Dauphin County Library System - Open for Discovery!

< Back to Beyond The Shelves

The Library: Free academic resources for schools and families

Wednesday August 18th, 2021

It’s back-to-school time. While parents are loading up on notebooks and calculators, Dauphin County Library System is gearing up its portfolio of services that provide meaningful, academically rich resources for the region’s schools, students, and families.

“At heart, a library is an educational institution,” says Executive Director Karen Cullings.

“Learning is a lifetime pursuit that begins in childhood,’’ Cullings says. “By partnering with schools and school districts throughout Dauphin County, we empower teachers to deliver an engaging learning experience and introduce children to worlds of knowledge. And in an age where learning is, more than ever, part of home life, we are committed to delivering academic supports that every family can access.”

The Library is especially excited about a transformative children’s initiative with unlimited potential – the S. Wilson & Grace M. Pollock Foundation Children’s Center coming to the renovated McCormick Riverfront Library. As part of The Library’s Your Place to Belong campaign, administrative offices will move to the newly connected and renovated Haldeman Haly House.

That move will allow McCormick Riverfront Library’s lower level to be reimagined as a safe, dedicated space for hands-on learning in the intertwined Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math STREAM.

Located in downtown Harrisburg, the Children’s Center will further extend learning opportunities where they’re needed most – in a high-need community where 44 percent of children live in poverty, and 75 percent of preschool-aged children lack access to high-quality early learning.

“Dauphin County Library System belongs to the community, as a welcoming place where learning and exploration are treasured,” says Cullings. “The Pollock Children’s Center will bring new opportunities for children to grow, cultivate their talents, and discover the joy of learning.”

The Children’s Center will complement The Library’s full array of educational programming:

All Ready Access

  • All Ready Access: Using their student IDs, students in school districts that The Library serves can access The Library’s collection of online resources, databases, and online lending materials, including e-books and e-audiobooks. Students are “all ready” for learning and wherever their academic journey takes them through the program.

All Ready Access fills gaps in school library resources, provides reliable, curated content and bridges to learning materials for students who lack online or physical access to The Library’s locations.

  • School partnerships: The Library’s longstanding partnerships with local schools and school districts help them expand the realm of resources available for student exploration and research. For St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, nearby McCormick Riverfront Library has for decades served as an outlet for fun learning and access to extensive educational resources.

Preschoolers attend storytimes. Elementary-age students get their first Library cards and take out books for pleasure reading, learning responsibility for the materials they borrow. Middle-school students use The Library for research, often aided by librarians who compile materials relevant to the classroom curriculum. Even when students stayed home during the pandemic, St. Stephen’s youngest students looked forward to monthly Zoom storytimes.

“We’re a school without walls, using resources within walking distance,” says preschool teacher and former Head of School Ruth Graffius. “The Library is the place we use most often. The Library and its resources have always been part of our school year.”

  • School tools: Need read-aloud videos for elementary-age students? Practice tests for middle-schoolers? Guidance for high school students preparing for a career or college?

With just a Library card, Library members can find a wealth of grade-level-specific resources. They include suggested reading for fun and academics, research databases, content from trusted news sources and journals, environmental studies enrichment, educational materials in Spanish and Portuguese, test preparation eBooks, and online language lessons. High school students can even practice for their driver’s license tests.

  • Children and youth programming: The Library’s popular Born to Read and Storytime programs help children ages birth to 5 prepare academically and socially for kindergarten. Young adult programs bring tweens and teens together to discuss books, play video games or Dungeons and Dragons, create art, or safely hang out with friends.


  • Tutor.com: When a child struggles with a learning block or needs extra help outside the classroom, tutors are indispensable providers of personalized assistance. However, the cost puts them out of reach for most families. The Library’s recent addition of Tutor.com to its resources helps bridge the gap by connecting families with free, trusted, and knowledgeable academic help.

Through Princeton Review’s Tutor.com, parents and students can find online tools and testing resources, plus one-on-one sessions with expert tutors to help with homework, test prep, projects, essays, and research papers.

Tutor.com also offers adults and students assistance with writing résumés, searching for jobs, and building study skills. Tutor.com even has an app for mobile devices, allowing on-the-go families to access academic help from anywhere.

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 >