Millvale Community Library nearly ready to debut

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Shelves are up, most of the furniture is in place, the heat is on, and restrooms are in working order.

"We're two or three months out from opening," board president Brian Wolovich said of the Millvale Community Library at 213 Grant Ave.

Thirty-five volunteers from schools, churches, the library and community members worked Saturday, setting up furniture and sorting through 9,000 to 10,000 books.

"We organized the books according to ones we would keep or sell, or discard," he said. "The flooring was finished five minutes before the volunteers came."

Two important projects remain -- the building's sprinkler system and facade work.

"Designs have been approved and the sprinkler system will be put up for bids. We will have to dig up Grant Avenue and the sidewalk to make the connections," Mr. Wolovich said of the job's magnitude.

Funding is in place for the expected $70,000 cost. Grable Foundation provided $67,000 and an anonymous foundation will pay the rest, he said.

As for the façade, Bruce Construction will install the glass, and Red Star Iron Works will create two sides of an open book for the double-door handles. Red Star and Tower 41 Productions will furnish special signs. Cost of the project is $20,500 -- $20,000 from Allegheny County and $500 from Millvale Borough Development Corp.

As an added attraction, students of a University of Pittsburgh eco-art group have created letters and are growing moss for a mural for the façade of the building adjacent to the library, which is being used for storage and was part of the property purchase in 2008.

The mural will feature a moss-covered base, with the word IMAGINE spelled out in metal letters. A summer installation is expected, Mr. Wolovich said.

Among Saturday's volunteers was library intern Bennett Gould, 18, of Indiana Township. A 2012 graduate of Fox Chapel Area High School, Mr. Gould is taking this year off before entering Allegheny College in September.

He explained that he became involved in the project while fulfilling required high school service hours and stayed in touch. He worked on final construction, is helping with research, attends networking events and sits in on planning meetings. He also attends classes offered by the Community Technical Assistance Center in Pittsburgh to help nonprofits develop organizational and leadership skills.

The library project attracted Mr. Gould because of its potential.

"I loved the effort to put a library in a town where there never was one," he said. "It will be a great resource for adults and children and a good community hub."

Lisa Seel of Shaler, the library board treasurer, also will attend CTAC classes, and she and other board members will attend a day-long retreat in March to construct a five-year strategic plan. She said fundraising has exceeded expectations. Costs so far on the project begun in 2007 are close to $500,000, including contributions of volunteer labor.

"They really have given us what we needed to push this project to the end. It actually looks like a library," Mrs. Seel said with happiness.

Work sessions will continue from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 16, 23, March 2 and 9.Volunteers are welcome. For now, book donations are not being accepted.


Virginia Miller, freelance writer:


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