When Montour closed the 98-year-old Ingram Elementary School this summer, many wondered about the fate of its library, which just had been refurbished with a $100,000 anonymous donation.
Now, the district is repurposing the library as a place for children and adults to read, study, get tutoring and use the Internet.
It will be known as the Ingram Community Resource Center and it will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 40 Vancouver Ave.
Offerings include free tutoring, books for pupils in kindergarten through fourth grade and five desktop computers with software and Internet access. Children in eighth grade or younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The district hopes to recruit high school students to help in the center, said Jason Burik, assistant to the superintendent.
"I think this might be a good fit for them to come down and tutor the younger students," he said.
For now, tutoring and other services are being provided by community resource facilitator Debra Peelor of Crafton, a longtime educator.
Ms. Peelor said the center is starting small but has the opportunity to expand programs, materials and hours if the community shows interest and support.
"We're looking in the future to turning it into a true community asset," Ms. Peelor said. "I want the public to know the more involved they are, the better the center can become. This is their opportunity to make use of that building in the best way that they want."
Next steps could include peer tutoring, storytelling for kids and eventually more programs for adults, including senior citizens, she said.
Volunteers are needed and welcome, she said.
The school board last month hired Ms. Peelor as an independent contractor for $16 an hour to run the center.
Ms. Peelor, who has a master's degree in business administration, holds a degree in biology and chemistry and specializes in science education. She is a member of the Crafton-Ingram Rotary Club.
During her career, she has taught at private schools, museums and after-school programs. She spent 20 years with an adult vocational training facility, where she was an instructor in the medical/pharmaceutical and the computer/office technology/business fields, she said.
In February, the library was remodeled and equipped with new books, technology and furniture, thanks to a $100,000 donation from an anonymous graduate.
Highlights of the project included $15,000 for about 1,000 new books; $17,000 for 30 Apple iPads; $7,000 for a Promethean electronic whiteboard; and more than $47,000 for renovations.
Ingram, which has 3,700 residents, does not have a public library. Ms. Peelor looked forward to helping the center grow into a gathering place for a range of ages.
"The more interest we have from the community, the more different programming I think we can put in place," she said. "If the community response is good, then we can have some real expansion."
Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: email@example.com.