More space means more services at Western Allegheny Community Library


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Bigger has turned out to be better for the Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette.

Since moving into its new space one year ago, the library has expanded its programming for children, increased its community outreach efforts, added two new personal computers for patrons, and hired two more people, bringing its total number of employees to 14 full and part time, said Marianne Sforza, library director.

In addition, the library has two laptops that patrons can check out to use inside the library, which serves North Fayette, Findlay and Oakdale.

“It has been great,” said Ms. Sforza, who has been at the library for 24 years.

The library purchased the 14,500-square-foot building at 181 Bateman Road in May 2012 from Amcom Office Systems for $896,000, which included a $357,600 donation from North Fayette and $125,000 from Findlay.

The library currently occupies 8,500 square feet of the building and has room to expand, if necessary.

Months were spent renovating the space, which is triple the size of its former facility in the North Fayette Community Center, 8042 Old Steubenville Pike. That space is now being used as an office for the parks and recreation commission and the township’s preschool and also is rented out for events.

Inside the library, cheerful colors adorn the walls and the space is ample to accommodate the library’s 46,000-item collection, compared to the former library where books had to be stacked vertically and laterally on shelves while new books were placed in piles on the floor until space could be made to put them into circulation.

The new library has a separate area for its audio and visual collection, which also contains an aquarium. The children’s area is also separate from the library’s main space.

Since moving into a larger space, the library has been able to expand programming and build a collection for children in fourth through seventh grade because of a $5,000 grant through the federal Library Services & Technology Act.

“It has been wonderful,” said Katie Weikert of North Fayette, the mother of two boys, Xavier, 15 months, and Christopher, 6, adding that she finds herself going to the library more often since it moved to its Bateman Road location. “They can come and read, and I can go do computer stuff,” she said of her sons.

Libby Bohley, who was dropping off books for her four young children, called the new space “cozy.”

“I feel very comfortable there,” said Ms. Bohley, who lives in the Clinton section of Findlay. 

The library will hold a fundraiser, “Fall for Your Library,” Sept.13 at the New Pavilion at Leopold Lake in Findlay. The fundraiser will feature food and wine pairings inspired by Argentina, Australia, California, Italy and Spain.

The event will also include a silent auction, door prizes, raffles, dessert and beer. Tickets are $40 in advance, or $45 on the date of the event.

Tickets are available at the library’s circulation desk, 724-695-8150 or www.westernalleghenylibrary.org.

Suzanne Elliott, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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