Barb Anderson was 13 years old when the Red Lion Public Library first opened on North Main Street. Before 1963, the closest public library was in downtown York, so residents welcomed the small space with open arms.
“It was not much bigger than an office,” said Anderson, now 62. “It was run by some school teachers, some stay-at-home moms.”
In the past 50 years, the library has undergone significant growth, with moves and name changes in 1968 and 1999. A circulation of 1,000 items has grown to 47,000, including audiobooks, DVDs and other multimedia items.
And Anderson, a lifelong Red Lion resident, has remained involved, first as a volunteer — one of more than 100 — and now as a library assistant.
“There’s just a tremendous passion for the library in general,” said Don Dellinger, director of Kaltreider-Benfer Library. “We’re very fortunate for that.”
The library’s anniversary celebrations this month include a Beef, Beer & Books fundraiser Oct. 12, featuring pit beef, barbecue and complementary beer for patrons 21 years and older and live music by The Lone Wolf Project.
Kids 3 years and older can join the fun with a birthday party for the library Oct. 21 with a special story time and refreshments from Red Brick Bakery.
“We just wanted to celebrate the library’s success of the last 50 years,” Dellinger said.
Dellinger said much has changed with Kaltreider-Benfer since its opening day, with a greater focus on technology and the library as a community center. But the library’s mission remains the same.
“We’re still an answer place, still a place that’s about information and lifelong learning,” he said. “The technology is complementing that. Audiobooks give people another way to read, technology and the Internet give people another way to obtain knowledge as well. We see it as a synergy between all of those.”
And Dellinger is already looking ahead to the next phase, a 10,000-square-foot expansion in the next three to four years that would double the library’s footprint and add a teen center and an expanded children’s area.
“They need a place to go after school, a safe place, a trusted place,” Dellinger said. “We have a children’s area and an area for adults, so it’s only fair to them for them to have their own area.”
Anderson also sees the value in the community interaction at the library.
“As a society, we’re more mobile, but the library still is the anchor in the town,” she said. “It’s nice to have one within walking distance.”
If you go
What: Beef, Beer & Books
When: 5 to 10 p.m. Oct. 12
Where: Kerry’s Green, 150 Country Club Road, York Township
Tickets: $40 per person; patrons must be 21 years old or older. Includes a buffet of pit beef, pork barbecue and ham sandwiches, macaroni salad, coleslaw, a baked potato bar and a chocolate fountain for dessert, plus complementary beer and soda.
Details: The event will include live music by The Lone Wolf Project, plus a small used book sale and silent auction. Call the library at 717-240-2032 with questions or to purchase tickets.
For kids: Children 3 years and older are invited to a birthday party for the library at 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at Kaltreider-Benfer Library, 147 S. Charles St., Red Lion, with a special story time and refreshments from Red Brick Bakery