Pages turn for Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library leadership

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

Two figures in the local library world are entering new chapters in their careers.

Kiely Fisher, director of Greencastle’s Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library for five years, is the new district consultant for libraries in Franklin and Fulton counties.

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Megan Gelsinger is now in charge of the Greencastle library, where she was named assistant director in November.

The women share a passion for reading, bonds created through books and the importance of local libraries.

Megan Gelsinger, left, has oversight of the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library in Greencastle and Kiely Fisher, who was library director for five years, is now district consultant for libraries in Franklin and Fulton counties.

“I think the library is a great equalizer. Whether you have a dime or $10,000 in your pocket you have the same experience,” Gelsinger said. “That’s why I think it’s a beautiful place.”

How are bonds forged over books and beyond?

“I’m excited to be able to support all the libraries,” Fisher said.

Her full title is district consultant, Chambersburg District Public Libraries, Franklin County Library System. The Franklin County Library System includes Besore in Greencastle, Coyle Free and Grove Family libraries in Chambersburg, the St. Thomas Library and the Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, as well as the outreach of the Bookmobile and Book Buggy. The state library system has organized geographic districts, so she also serves Fulton County as well as Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library in Waynesboro.

“I’ve been told it’s the best position in Pennsylvania library land,” Fisher said. She serves as a resource for the libraries in many capacities, including conveying information from the state, training library boards, helping with reports to qualify for funding from the state Office of Commonwealth Libraries, reaching out to other districts to see what they do and “a lot of consulting-type stuff.”

She was named to the post in June 2022 and remained in charge of Besore until Gelsinger became assistant director in November.

Fisher is a 2000 graduate of Chambersburg Area Senior High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in humanities from Brigham Young University in 2005. She received her master’s degree in library and information science from Clarion University in 2017 and became director at Besore that October.

“Of course, I love books,” said Fisher, adding they were part of her childhood and she has good memories of libraries.

She values the one-on-one connections of bonding over books, helping new readers and making sure patrons find what they are looking for.

Kiely Fisher, library director, and Cheyenne Bookwalter, children's librarian, were shown outside Greencastle's Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library in June 2020, when curbside pickup was available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We survived the pandemic,” Fisher said when asked about accomplishments during her tenure. She is especially proud of the book club, which only missed one meeting before pivoting to Zoom.

“They were so willing to meet together, even if it was virtual,” Fisher said.

The club, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in November, meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month in the library community room. The book list has been compiled for the year and is available at the library.

The library system closed for about four months during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Libraries began offering curbside service in the summer of 2020 and gradually returned to full service, which goes far beyond books and includes a variety of programs, free computers and other resources.

Members of the book club at Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library in Greencastle celebrated the group’s 20th anniversary on Nov. 8.

“I think libraries are more relevant than ever,” Fisher said.

What’s ahead for the Besore Library?

Besore will soon begin circulating Kindles for e-reading, Gelsinger noted.

She said she’s been around books since childhood, even sleeping with them as a baby.

“My mom and I connected over books,” she said, explaining her mother, Denise Gelsinger, would read to her and they would go to the library together.

“Books are very calming to me,” she said. “When I step into a library, I feel at peace. I think that’s very important in the world we live in today.”

Being a librarian was not on the radar of the 2015 Greencastle-Antrim High School graduate, who earned a degree in English from Shippensburg University in 2020.

She tried teaching, but didn’t like how much of the job she had to take home with her. She wanted her time at home to be devoted to family — daughter Holly Gelsinger, 3, and dogs Gypsy and Bandit.

She had a conversation with her mother, who has a relative who was a teacher then became a librarian.

“It sounded like a good fit for me,” Gelsinger said. She reached out to her friend Ann Davis, who has worked at the library for 10 years, then met with Fisher.

“I asked ‘How do I do this? What steps do I take?’” recalled Gelsinger.

She was hired as a library assistant in February 2022 and started working online toward her master’s degree in information and library science at Fisher’s alma mater, now known as PennWest Clarion.

She has lots of ideas about what she wants to do at Besore, including more adult programming.

Gelsinger learned to crochet from Cheyenne Bookwalter, youth program director, who led a crochet class for tweens. Gelsinger hopes to have an introductory crochet class for adults.

“I just want to keep the library a friendly place for the community to feel welcome,” she said.

Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at