The Hershey Public Library is a full-service public library located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Its mission is to promote and support reading, literacy, and lifelong learning.
The 29,000-square-foot (2,700 m2) facility features over 102,000 books, DVDs, CDs, and more. Its special collections include the Pennsylvania Collection, Palliative Care Collection, and World Languages Collection.
The library is staffed by professional librarians and provides reference service, interlibrary loan, Internet access, and numerous programs for children, teens, and adults.
The library is maintained by Derry Township and is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees.
The Hershey Public Library is a community center focusing on open access to materials, programs, information and services that fulfill the community’s educational and enrichment needs. The library actively promotes and supports reading, literacy, information technology, and lifelong learning.
In 1911, editorials appeared in the Hershey Press calling for a public library in Hershey. In 1912, a permanent public library was created in Hershey by drawing upon the resources of a traveling library from Harrisburg. The library was housed in the YMCA Building, a part of Cocoa House, a community center that also contained a bank, post office, store, theatre, dormitories, and Hershey Trust Company offices. Point was made, however, to manage the library through a joint committee of the YWCA and YMCA, enabling resources to be available to both men and women. Librarian Ella F. Kegerreis reported that from February 1912 to January 1913, the library held 338 books and served 256 patrons.
Hershey Public Library proper was founded in 1913. The earlier collection was relocated to the Hershey Department Store. In November 1914, Lynn W. Meekins, a recent graduate from Johns Hopkins University, was appointed librarian.
In 1914, the library moved to the newly renovated and renamed Hershey Central Theater Building. As described in the Hershey Press, the library consisted of adult and juvenile book collections, reading tables, electric lighting, and office. By June 1915, the library reported that circulation had doubled since the same period in 1914. By December 1915, the Hershey Press reported that in proportion to population, the library’s circulation exceeded that of the New York Public Library. Also that month, books in Italian were placed in circulation to meet the needs of the area’s Italian-speaking residents. In 1917, Zelma Baker was appointed librarian.
In June 1928, the library moved a third time to the second floor of a former post office.
The library found another home in the newly built Community Center in September 1933.
In 1981, the Hershey Public Library moved to the former Derry Township Middle School on Granada Avenue and became a part of the Derry Township municipality.
On April 26, 1997, the library moved to its seventh and current location, a building newly constructed on Cocoa Avenue and dedicated solely to the library.
The Friends of the Hershey Public Library was founded over 20 years ago and has contributed over $200,000 to the library since 1994. This organization is perhaps most well known for its annual booksale, which draws customers from throughout the region. The Friends organization also oversees volunteers to shelve or repair books and sponsors distinguished author visits; free adult, teen, and children’s programs; and the Library on Wheels service.
The library is located at 701 Cocoa Avenue, Hershey, PA 17036. The library phone number is 717-533-6555.
Summer hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day) are Monday-Thursday, 9:30am–8:00pm; Friday, 9:30am–5:00pm; Saturday, 9:30am–3:00pm, and Sunday, 1:00pm–5:00pm. Winter hours (Labor Day to Memorial Day) are Monday-Thursday, 9:30am–8:00pm; Friday, 9:30am–5:00pm; Saturday, 9:30am–5:00pm; and Sunday, 1:00pm–5:00pm.