Shippensburg Public Library (2024)

Shippensburg Public Library (1)
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania began as thefirst settlement in theCumberland Valley, settled in 1730 by 12 Scots-Irish families.The land was owned by Edward Shippen (1703 - 1781) of Lancaster,originally a well-known gentleman of Philadelphia. The land wasgiven to him by the heirs of William Penn, and the town wouldeventually be named in Shippen's honor.
Shippensburg Public Library (2)

Shippensburg Public Library (3) The town grew along theold Virginia IndianPath (now Rt. 11), which would be renamed King Street by Shippen'sson-in-law Col. James Burd, who also directed the construction of theroad to Fort Pitt during the French and Indian War. King Streethas seen many historical events in its 275 year history, including amarch of Confederate soldiers through the town in 1863, which isreenacted every year. King Street has also been the site of allthe incarnations of the Shippensburg Public Library.

Our library began as the brainchild of Mr. Arthur Burkhart, Sr., whosimply loved books and wished to spread that love to others of thecommunity. He was soon joined by many others, and theShippensburg Public Library was established on Nov. 7, 1933. ByJan. 15 of the following year, a portion of a storeroom on West KingSt. used as a community center by the farm people of the area waspartitioned off to become the first physical manifestation of ourLibrary.


Unfortunately, by thesummer of that year,that space was no longer available. After several temporarylocations, the library board asked the president of the WesternMaryland Railroad if they could use their passenger railroad station onWest King Street for the library. Happily, in 1936 the railroadagreed to lease the station to the library for ten dollars ayear! A library in a railroad station was unusual enough to bewritten up in Ripley's "Believe it or Not" newspaper column.

It was in this period that the Children's Story Hour programbegan. Every week, Mrs. Van Scyoc - the Story Lady - would readto the community's children. The tradition of story hour, andmany more children's programs, continues to this day.

Having outgrown the railroad station, plans were made to buy the homeof Dr. George H. Stewart at 73 West King St. from his widow, Mrs.Dorothy Gray Stewart. This beautiful and historic home was builtby Dr. Stewart's father in 1880 in the Victorian style, on the site ofthe Black Horse Tavern, where George Washington rested while quellingthe Whiskey Rebellion. The house was modified by Dr. Stewart in 1936into its present Georgian Revival form.

The library opened its doors to the community on Dec. 9, 1957.Since then, there have been many improvements, including a significantaddition in 1968 and the removal of the children's library from thebasem*nt to a freshly renovated second floor. Today, there areplans to use Dr. Stewart's offices and consider furtheradditions. As our community continues to grow, so does ourbeloved library!

Our library is a wonderful mix of the old and the new. Originalwoodwork and fireplaces can be found only feet from the latest computerstations. Amish patrons in traditional dress can be foundsearching the stacks with professors from nearby ShippensburgUniversity. Elderly patrons and high school teens work side byside at the computers. Children from hundred-year-old farmsexcitedly listen to stories seated next to children from modernsuburban developments. The latest library technology blendsseamlessly with old-fashioned personal service.

Shippensburg Public Library (4)

Shippensburg Public Library (5) And speaking of service,we have a wonderful,dedicated staff, as well as many volunteers, who keep our libraryrunning. We are especially thankful for our director, who joinedthe library in June of 2003. Besides continuing to add to ourcollection, she has encouraged the development of book groups andauthor talks, oversees our building projects, and brings sanity to ourlibrary.

The crown jewel of our library is our children's program. Besidesthe traditional Story Time, we also have Toddler Time, the SummerReading Program, Super Saturday Family Fun Day, and Family Place.Family Place is a parenting workshop which brings community parents andprofessionals together.

In April of 2004, our children's director accepted the PennsylvaniaLibrary Association's Best Practices Award in family programming forher Passport Program. This program introduces children to worldcultures with foods, games, and language lessons, often involvingcommunity members who represent the various ethnicities.


The Friends of theShippensburg PublicLibrary began in April of2001. They are dedicated to supporting our library with Fridaymorning coffee hours, Books for Babies, a library newsletter, used booksales, and a spring tea. Just this last October, the Board of Trusteesand the Friends held our fourth successful annual Galafundraiser. It's title?


ShippensburgPublic Library - The Heart of the Community!

Shippensburg Public Library (6)

Shippensburg Public Library (7)

Shippensburg Public Library (2024)

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