Millvale Community Library opening expected early next year

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Officials of the Millvale Community Library have not yet determined an opening date, but they're planning an initial book sorting on Dec. 1 and are starting to plan for grand-opening festivities.

Board president Brian Wolovich told those assembled in the community room of the library at 213 Grant Ave. last Thursday that the opening will be in early 2013. The library project dates back to 2007.

Construction funding has been completed, and future fundraising will be for operations, he said. Titan HVAC of Shaler, which was low bidder, has begun work on the heating and air-conditioning system, he said.

Board treasurer Lisa Seel of Shaler said the library accounting has been split to reflect separate construction and operational funds.

One of two second-floor apartments has been completed and is in the process of being rented. Income from the apartments is earmarked to help pay the building's mortgage.

Suggestions for grand-opening activities included a monthlong series of events, such as visiting authors, poetry and book readings, events for different ages and groups and a party. The board will seek involvement by Shaler North Hills Library.

A documentary prepared by Dark Horizon Studios may be shown. The studio, made up of 2011 college graduates, donated time in the summer to film the future library and the borough.

Donald Lee, retired superintendent of Shaler Area School District who became a library board member, led a discussion of the bylaws and policies. Mr. Lee was instrumental in donating used book shelves from the high school library to the Millvale project during the school's renovation.

Long-range plans should be made, and a strategic plan covering the next four to five years is needed, according to Mr. Wolovich.

Professor Joanna Commandaros and several students of her eco-art class at the University of Pittsburgh attended the meeting and presented a proposal for a moss mural project for the facade of the space adjacent to the library, which was part of the building purchased in 2008.

"We have to make a shift, be more in touch with the natural world," one of the students said. "The mural exposes Millvale to environmentally friendly ideas."

One of the few such projects in Allegheny County, the mural would feature moss on a concrete board or other base, with the word Imagine in metal letters. The moss would be formed to represent the Millvale skyline, he said.

Project participants are in the process of researching moss maintenance and the appropriate base for the plant life.

"Hopefully, we will begin installation in the spring. We are writing several grants, so there would be no burden to the library," a student said.

After questioning by the board, the students explained that there would be an irrigation system for the moss. One board member suggested that the mural be back-lighted, and the Pitt group will continue planning and present an update on Dec. 7.

neigh_north

Virginia Miller, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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