Hershey Public Library’s Children’s Department hosts programming for early childhood literacy and learning for children from babies to pre-school age. We endeavor to accommodate children with all levels of ability and physical needs. If there is something we can do to improve the library experience for you and your child, please do not hesitate to talk to us and we will try our best.

Contact Us

Ask a Librarian

Do you have a question for a children’s librarian?

Call 717-533-6555 x3708. Email: Rita Smith: 

General information: 717-533-6555 or e-mail at

Library Director: Laura O’Grady:

Cataloging and Technical Services Librarian: Krista Hughes:

Reference Librarian: Donna Small –

Circulation Manager: Chris Gawron –

Systems Administrator: Jeff Cothren –

Webmaster: Heather Mahraj –

To call other departments, dial 717-533-6555 and follow the prompts.

IT Dept: x3701

Circulation Desk: x3700

Children’s Desk: x3708

Reference Desk: x3706

Interlibrary Loan: x3723

Adult Programs and Events: x3717

Friends of the Library: x3719



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Strategic Statement

Impact Statement
In Derry Township, we are the place of discoveries. Your possibilities can become realities here.

Mission Statement
The Hershey Public Library is the hub of our community, creating possibilities for everyone to enrich their lives.

Vision Statement
Community Engagement Vision

As the trusted hub of our community, we make it possible for everyone to access us. Our work and impact are not limited to our main location. While it serves as the center of our operations, we proactively reach into the community, identify users’ needs, and bring programs and services to the people who can’t come to us. In doing so, we bring the library and all of its services to all in our community.

Services Vision

We deliver programs and services that are not available elsewhere in our community. As part of this commitment, we identify low-user populations such as teens, seniors, minorities, and transient residents and develop programming focused on them. We collaborate with the school system and township recreation programs to leverage their efforts and deliver synergistic services.

We think like retail merchandisers, actively promoting seasonal books and resources and making new resources easily accessible to users. We know the technology needs of our users and deliver solutions that completely bridge the digital divide in our service area. Through hands-on experiences, users interested in making items or working on collective projects find the help and convening opportunities they need to pursue their common interests. We loan non-traditional items such as tech accessories, tools and instruments and provide opportunities for users to learn how to use and maintain them.

Organizational Culture and Staffing Vision

Our culture of customer service is characterized by the word “yes.” Flexible and willing to change to accommodate the needs of our users, we are committed to being first-class in all that we do.

The work of our staff is less structured and more flexible than in the past. Everyone is cross-trained to effectively serve our users, enabling us to reallocate staff to serve when and where needed. Mindful of the evolving service and technology needs of our users, our staff continually modifies our services to master new technologies and support multiple populations.

Facilities Vision

Highly aware of the emerging trends impacting our community and users, we actively practice space optimization. Through this practice, low-circulation resources are routinely moved to less-than-prime space, and prime space is used to deliver primary resources, services, and programs. This enables us to maximize our existing space and create space to meet specific program and user needs.

Outcomes Vision

As a result of our strategic focus and hard work, the Hershey Public Library is a high-caliber, first-class library through which everyone in our community has equal access to the programs, services, and resources they need to live in an ever-changing world. Most important, in Derry Township, we are the place of discoveries through which possibilities become real.

Visit the Library

Rita Hunt-Smith, Children’s Librarian, meets with a local Day Care Center pre-school group.

Are you a home-schooler, day-care provider, scout leader, or teacher?  The Children’s Services staff at the library is pleased to welcome field trips to the library.  We are happy to work with you in meeting your children’s needs.

Become acquainted with our extensive fiction and nonfiction collections in Children’s Services, as well as magazines, and media.

There are many online resources and databases trusted for their reliable source of information on multiple subjects through the library’s website. We would be very happy to intoduce you to these resources.

Field trips can be scheduled as our programming schedule permits, please call 533-6555 ext. 3708 for dates.  Please note that all evening field trips must be scheduled at least one month in advance.

Parent Library Cooperation Guidelines

The Hershey Public Library welcomes and encourages community members of all ages to take advantage of the many resources the library has to offer. In order to provide the best possible library experience for our customers, we ask parents to follow these guidelines for Parent-Library Cooperation:

  • We expect all children under the age of 12 to be supervised by an individual 14 or older while visiting the library.
    Parents are responsible for their children’s behavior in the library. Disruptive children are defined as children who talk loudly, run, are disrespectful toward others, or mistreat library property. Disruptive children, attended or unattended, may be asked to leave the library after one warning.
  • We expect all children and teens to use appropriate language and behavior in the library. Those who do not will be asked to leave after one warning.
    We expect parents to maintain control of their children while visiting the library. Please remember that the library staff’s professional services do not include baby-sitting.
  • We expect parents to set reasonable time limits for their children’s library visits.
    Library staff members cannot be responsible for the safety, care, supervision or entertainment of children, who, on a regular basis, are required by parents to spend hours in the library after school in lieu of daycare.
    In order to provide for the general welfare for all persons using the library, and to provide for the general safety of children using the library, each child should know his/her full name, address, and telephone number and the name and phone number of a responsible adult to contact if the parent cannot be reached. The child should be introduced to the children’s librarian and other library staff members so he/she feels comfortable approaching them with a problem.
    If an unattended child is being disruptive, is habitually left unattended for long periods or time, or is deemed to be at risk of coming to harm, an effort will be made to locate the responsible parent, guardian, or caregiver. If necessary, Derry Township Police will be notified to take custody of the child.
  • We expect parents to let us know if they or their children are unable to find the type of materials they seek.
    We welcome suggestions for materials that will broaden our collections or improve our service.
  • We expect parents to be responsible for the types of materials checked out by their children and their selection choices.
    The library staff does not limit choices or censor materials.
  • We expect parent’s to see that overdue fines are paid promptly. Parents are financially responsible for damages to library materials or property incurred by their children.

Child Safety in the Library


Hershey Public Library Policy

  1. Parents or guardians are responsible for the behavior of their children in the library at all times.
  2. Children under 12 years of age must be supervised by a person 14 years of age or older.
  3. Children 12 years of age and older must know how to contact a parent or guardian.
  4. Parents/guardians and children are reminded that the library is a public facility.  Library staff will assist with library related activities. Appropriate behavior and supervision are the responsibility of the parent/guardian and are expected at all times.
  5. If a problem arises with a child of any age and the staff is unable to locate a parent/guardian, the police may be called at the discretion of the library staff.
  6. If a child remains at the library after closing and the staff is unable to locate a parent/guardian, the police may be called at the discretion of the library staff.

Safe Access to the Internet


Warning to Parents and Caregivers:

Parents or guardians, not the Library or its staff, are ultimately responsible for their children’s use of the Internet through the Library’s connection. The Hershey Public Library does not monitor, and has no control over, any materials obtained on the Internet, and cannot be held responsible for its content. Despite the presence of filtering software, it is recommended that parents supervise their children’s Internet sessions.

Behavior Policy

  • No more than 2 people on any computer at any time
  • Please log on / log off with each new user
  • Appropriate, respectful behavior is expected at all times

These rules will be strictly enforced. If you do not follow the rules, your computer time will be ended for the day. Please note that federal law requires children 16 and under (until the 17th birthday) to have filtered Internet access. Library staff CANNOT override these filters.

Confidentiality of Records


2.1 In accordance with Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Statutes (Title 24, Chapter 16, Article IV, 24P. S. 4428), and as recommended by the American Library Association, the following records, related to the circulation of library materials, identifying the names of Library users and other personally identifiable information shall be considered confidential in nature and may be revealed only to record holders for library business use. This includes:

  • Titles and number of items checked out
  • Titles and number of items on reserve
  • Overdue and fine account information
  • Reference questions
  • Interlibrary loan requests and transactions

Continue reading “Confidentiality of Records”