Moriah Story feels very strongly that libraries play a crucial role in the community.
The Greencastle-Antrim High School senior started volunteering at the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library two years ago and she now works there as a part-time library assistant.
"I started out as a page," said Story. "I initially only put books away and straightened shelves."
Now, she's added front desk duties to her role, working about 12 hours a week.
"People come to find information. I enjoy helping people solve problems. It's an interesting job," the 18-year-old said.
The daughter of Mark and Jill Story is currently taking college classes and plans to pursue her master's in library science.
Story said she believes the more people who use their local libraries the better, not only for the stability of her future career, but also for the betterment of the community.
"The library is able to help a wide range of people and the more people that come, the longer we are able to stay in business and offer opportunities for others," Story said. "There's always something you can do or check out at your local library. It's definitely instrumental in promoting education in the community. I think the library fosters a great sense of community."
Story — who admits with a last name like hers it would be hard not to love books — recently had the opportunity to share her love of the library with others through a proclamation that she penned.
Last week, Franklin County commissioners read the proclamation, setting April 8-14 as Franklin County Public Library Week.
"I looked at some old proclamations to get an idea of how to do it," Story explained.
The proclamation, read by Commissioner David Keller, recognized the public library staff and their service to the community.
"Local libraries are Franklin County’s primary source for any materials whose purpose is to educate or expand knowledge. The system’s well-informed staff help foster an enriched environment for adults through daily newspapers, magazines and the latest book releases, and continually provide opportunities for children to expand their love of reading through programs such as Storytime, the Book Buggy and the Bookmobile," Keller read. "The Library System fills a key role in promoting personal health among citizens of Franklin County through educational programs dedicated to well-being and online access to accurate medical materials, providing informational pamphlets regarding medical conditions and healthcare, and promoting an active lifestyle among staff and county residents alike."
According to Bernice Crouse, executive director of the Franklin County Library System, the use of libraries across the county has been on the increase, including the summer learning program.
She said community support for the $5 million Coyle Free Library expansion fund has been great. "We reached the $1.7 million benchmark with about $800,000 left to go," Crouse said.
And last year, the Grove Family Library was named a gold star library by PA Forward, a statewide initiative under the Pennsylvania Library Association that works to strengthen the state's libraries through education, advocacy and leadership.
In order to reach the gold star status, a library must demonstrate and offer the five literacies of the program: basic literacy, information literacy, civic and social literacy, health literacy and financial literacy.
Keller said it's due to the support of taxpayers and donations from the community that libraries continue to operate.
One local library supporter is Patriot Federal Credit Union, which underwrites the library system's annual appeal.
"Our operating philosophy is people helping people. Part of our mission is to be a positive citizen in the business community," explained John Kilduff, corporate affairs officer for Patriot. "We see libraries as hugely important to people in our communities. That's why we support the library system."
Libraries across Franklin County are celebrating the week by offering a variety of special events and programs. For a schedule, visit your local branch or www.fclspa.org.