Monroeville library will celebrate with a display of memorabilia

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Long before the e-book, the Internet, the DVD and the CD, there was the idea.

It started as a grass-roots effort. Moms collected contributions at tea parties. A school board donated the land. Even the federal government chipped in.

Before long, Monroeville's very own public library was born.

Fast forward to 2013, and the building is still a hub of the community. Next year it will begin a celebration of the 50-year anniversary of its opening.

"We want to remember the history of the library and of Monroeville as they have grown together through the last half century," said Mark Hudson, adult services librarian, who talked about its beginnings.

Mr. Hudson and his team have already begun planning for the operation and are in need of assistance from community members who own Monroeville memorabilia. The library hopes to borrow these historical items for a collection that will be displayed at the library for one year.

Staff is looking for photographs of community gatherings and events at schools, churches and businesses. Brochures, programs, advertisements and other keepsakes are also in demand.

Library Director Christy Fusco said she hopes the collection will capture the role the library has played in bringing community members together.

"All of those items in grandma's attic, that's not just junk someone has to get rid of," Ms. Fusco said. "It reminds us of what came before us."

Ms. Fusco also wants the display to highlight the ways the library has changed, especially during the past decade. Its 150,000 yearly visitors don't just come for books; they use computers, rent electronic materials, run group meetings and attend workshops.

"If you asked every person who comes through the door why they are here, every one would give you a different answer," Ms. Fusco said. "It's an energetic place and we want to share all that it has to offer."

Along with the display, a variety of history-related programs will be organized throughout the year, including showings of a documentary currently being created by the Monroeville Historical Society.

"With a community like ours that doesn't have a downtown core, it is important for us to have a sense of coming together. The library is used for that," said Louis Chandler, a Monroeville historian. "We want to remind people about the place that it holds in our community."

To donate, call 412-372-0500.

neigh_east

Jessica Contrera: jcontrera@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1458.


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