Bridgeville Public Library to celebrate 50 years

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For a half century, the Bridgeville Public Library's role has been a community repository for periodicals, books and video and audio entertainment.

Joyce Heinrich, the library's new fundraiser, sees that role expanding and said she wants to market the library as more of a regional attraction and multiuse venue. Its large community room can be used for parties and meetings, and she hopes to schedule more live concerts and speakers.

The room will be bustling Saturday for a party to celebrate the library's 50th anniversary with a free four-hour program of live entertainment, door prizes and refreshments. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. in the library on McMillen Street with a performance by Bob the Juggler, followed by Mike the Balloon Guy and Company.

Also featured will be a show by the Legionaires (a Bridgeville band) and gift cards from Bridgeville businesses awarded as door prizes.

Ms. Heinrich said the celebration is not just limited to Bridgeville residents, but open to everyone in neighboring communities who enjoy and support the library.

Cardholders break down to 50 percent from Bridgeville, 20 percent from Collier, 20 percent from South Fayette and 10 percent from other communities such as Carnegie and Upper St. Clair, Ms. Heinrich said.

"Some people in South Fayette find our library is closer, and Collier doesn't have a library, so the people come here," she said.

Since being hired in June as the fundraiser, the Bridgeville resident has been busy getting the word out about the new library building that opened in January 2011.

"Everyone is absolutely thrilled with the look of the library," she said. "For a brand new building, the library has a contemporary and warm feeling."

For its first 48 years of operation, the library was housed in a converted train station on Station Street, but at only 1,800 square feet the building was too small to house the library's growing collection and the ever-increasing number of patrons who used its services. A restored caboose was used as the children's library.

The library board decided the library needed a new, larger structure, and plans were drawn up for a new 7,800-square-foot structure in 2008.

Recent state cutbacks in library funding and the tough economy in the past few years have forced the library to cut its weekly hours of operation from 54 to 34, but Ms. Heinrich said she hopes to reverse those cutbacks with a more focused fundraising effort.

She said a fundraising letter will go out to 8,000 individuals and businesses asking for contributions to help the library, and she will be going to corporations and foundations to ask for grants.

She believes the support is there for the library.

"The Bridgeville High Class of 1948 had a class reunion and when they were asked to make a donation to the library, $400 was raised," Ms. Heinrich said.

"Betty and Curtis Copeland brought us the donation, and we decided to recognize the class for their generosity by installing a commemorative brick at the library in their honor."

She said anyone who wants to buy a commemorative brick to honor a family member, loved one or even a pet can buy one for a $75 contribution.

Bridgeville Area Historical Society historian John Oyler is planning a four-part series called "Bridgeville Remembered," and a brass band is scheduled for Dec.6 to perform Christmas music, she said.

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Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer:


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