New library in Bridgeville offers space, longer hours, scenic view

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Some people walked. Some arrived by car. Many were from Bridgeville. Others came from nearby communities.

They all agreed on one thing: They liked the new, more spacious $4 million Bridgeville Public Library.

The library on McMillan Street opened with a reception at 9 a.m. Monday, then it was down to business as patrons arrived throughout the day to return books, borrow CDs or just spend time reading in the new chairs near the fireplace.

In the expanded children's section, youngsters carted handfuls of books to reading tables near shelves that were built 4 feet high to make it easier for young readers to reach the books.

Designed by Pfaffmann and Associates of Pittsburgh, the 7,800-square-foot library is four times larger than the old library, which was a converted train station on Station Street that housed the children's library in a restored railroad caboose.

The old library closed Dec. 15 to allow staff to move the library's collection to the new building.

The empty train station and caboose they left behind have been purchased by the Bridgeville Area Historical Society to serve as its new headquarters. Nino Petrocelli Sr., president of the library board and of borough council, said the papers were signed Monday morning, making the sale official.

Dolores Wilson, who has lived in Bridgeville for 20 years, said she is thrilled with the new library.

"I'm very glad and happy that we have a new library. We gave up a little caboose for a mama caboose," she said, referring to the new, larger library. Although bigger, the new library incorporates some of the train-related feel of the old building.

The outside is painted bright red, the original color of the caboose on Station Street, and has a series of small windows similar to a caboose. The back of the building is lined with large rectangular windows that give the building an open feel with lots of natural light and provide a view of the Pittsburgh and Ohio Central Railroad tracks.

Trains pass by once or twice a day, giving children in the library a glimpse of a real train chugging by.

Giavanna Minella, 2, granddaughter of Maryann Minella of Bridgeville, put aside her books Monday afternoon and stood up to look out the back windows as she heard the whistle of an approaching freight train.

Soon, a Pittsburgh and Ohio Central locomotive came into view.

"That's a big train, pulling a lot of cars," she said.

Her grandmother smiled and said, "I brought my sons, who are now 30 and 24, to the old library. It was always a joy. Now, it's nice to bring a new generation to the library. I love the building. It's spacious, and I like the feel of openness to the new library. There are lots of programs for kids. They even have puppets for them. It's fun."

Lori Kushner of South Fayette said her son, Dominick, 5, likes to see the trains, too, and she had nothing but praise for the new library.

"It is beautiful," she said. "It is even bigger than the old library, but it has a warm feel to it. It is so open, but the fireplace makes it feel cozy."

Both Ms. Minella and Ms. Wilson said they also liked the free parking at the library. The old library could offer only metered parking along Station Street.

Even though Sharon DePaoli has moved from Bridgeville to Cecil, she said Bridgeville is still her library.

"They can't get rid of me," joked Ms. DePaoli, who is a member of the Second Thursday Book Group, which meets once a month to discuss a book recommended by Donna Taylor, library director.

The new library has another attraction -- longer hours, with the library will be opening earlier in the day. The new hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Mr. Petrocelli said fundraising for the new library is still ongoing. The library board received a $500,000 state Keystone Grant to help with construction, committed $1.5 million from its capital fund and borrowed $2 million to complete the project. No borough funds were spent.

"We want to pay back the loan as soon as possible," he said.

Those who want to help can send donations to Bridgeville Public Library, P.O. Box 537, Bridgeville 15017, or drop donations off at the library.

Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: .


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