The Fayette County Board of Commissioners recently honored the county's nine public libraries during their monthly meeting.
Uniontown, PA – Libraries generally bring to mind books – shelf after shelf of non-fiction and fiction, learning and enjoyment. But libraries are much more than simply places where books are kept. In today’s world, libraries also provide access to technology and office equipment and serve as hubs for a variety of community gatherings.
In honor of National Library Week, local libraries have earned April’s “Faces and Places” designation.
Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville is about to turn 120 years old. Founded on May 1, 1903, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. The library serves about 38,000 residents in several municipalities, including both the City of Connellsville and Connellsville Township, Bullskin Township, South Connellsville Borough and more.
Director Sharon Martino said libraries hold significant positions in a community. “Libraries are important to a community because not only do they supply books that people can read for free, but (reading) lets people escape into their imaginations,” Martino said.
She added the other services libraries provide, including computer access for research or job search purposes, are beneficial as well.
Martino said Carnegie Free Library contributes a great deal to the Connellsville community, even offering a program in conjunction with Penn State Extension to teach residents about gardening. The children’s story hour is popular and includes arts and crafts as well as reading, and the summer reading program at nearby East Park is one of the library’s biggest draws.
The library, located at 299 S. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville, also offers Block Party on Fridays, where children can gather and express their creativity through building with blocks.
Adults have plenty to choose from, too, from clubs devoted to knitting and crocheting, arts and crafts or reading, to adult yoga classes with Cathy Kumor or the Move It and Lose It program with Nancy Koller of Nancy’s Swim Spa.
Carnegie Free Library is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 724-628-1380 or visit www.carnegiefreelib.org.
There are plenty of other libraries located throughout the county including as well.
- Brownsville Free Public Library has been in operation since 1885 but didn’t have a permanent location in the borough until settling at 100 Seneca St. in 1927. The library is currently taking registration for Saturday Lunchbook, partnering with Food Helpers to provide children in grades five and younger with free lunches, as well as learning and literacy. A bookmark design contest for children and adults proved so popular that the deadline for entries has been extended to May 16. The library is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Call 724-785-7272 or visit www.bfpl.org.
- Dunbar Community Library, 60 Connellsville St., Dunbar, opened in 1991 and is entirely staffed by volunteers. The children’s story hour is a popular event, and the library is active in borough activities such as the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Dunbar Community Fest. The library is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. Call 724-277-4775 or visit www.dunbarcommunitylibrary.webs.com.
- Frazier Community Library, 403 W. Constitution St., Perryopolis, was established in 1960 and operates in conjunction with the Frazier School Library. The library has established an oral history collection of recorded interviews with longtime area residents in an effort to preserve local history. It also wrote a grant to begin a collection of Great American Art. The library is open 4:30 to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Call 724-736-8480 or visit www.fraziercommunitylibrary.webs.com.
- German-Masontown Public Library, 104 S. Main St., Masontown, was founded in 1965. In addition to its preschool story time program, the library is offering a STEM summer day camp for students going into grades 6-8 with topics ranging from robotics to aquatic mammals to architecture. A real estate seminar is coming up soon for adult residents. The library is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Call 724-583-7030 or visit www.german-masontownpubliclibrary.org.
- Point Marion Public Library, 399 Ontario St., Point Marion, was established in 1921 through the efforts of the Criterion Club. Though small, the library offers story hours and activities for children and plenty of the latest books. It is open 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to noon Friday and Saturday. Call 724-725-9553 or visit www.pointmarionlibrary.com.
- Smithfield Public Library, 14 Water St., Smithfield, was started in 1994 and is located in the Smithfield Borough Building. The library has an active monthly Reading Circle and is gearing up for its summer reading program with the theme “All Together Now.” The library is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Call 724-569-1777 for more information.
- Uniontown Public Library, 24 Jefferson St., Uniontown, got its start in 1912 as a reading room before it was officially launched as a public library in 1928. The City of Uniontown dedicates a portion of the real estate tax to the library’s upkeep. In addition to the books available to the approximately 10,000 residents it serves, the library offers such activities as Scrabble Club. It recently partnered with Dress for Success Pittsburgh to help residents obtain clothing, shoes and accessories suitable for job interviews, as well as resume support. The library is open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Call 724-437-1165 or visit www.uniontownlib.org.
In addition to its many public libraries, Fayette County also features a college library that is open to the public. Pennsylvania State Fayette Campus Library, 2201 University Drive, Lemont Furnace, offers textbooks, computer workstations and a variety of reference materials, including e-books. The location also is home to the Coal and Coke Heritage Center. Call 724-430-4155 or visit www.libraries.psu.edu/fayette.
For those who don’t have a lot of time to browse and are just looking for something fun to read, Little Free Libraries are a “take a book, leave a book” option. Popping up all over the county, these small boxes usually are constructed by volunteers and filled with donated books available for free to anyone who wants to read one. Readers can also drop off books of their own so that the next person has even more choices. There are Little Free Libraries in Connellsville, Springfield Township, Dunbar and Dickerson Run, to name a few.
Whether you’re looking for a good read, fun for the kids or community activities, Fayette County libraries stack up and certainly go beyond the books.
Editor's Note: Photos attached (Connellsville Little Free Library; Connellsville Little Free Library2; National Library Week Proclamation)
This communication, among other initiatives, is funded through the 2016 Fayette County Local Share Account (LSA) in cooperation with the Fayette County Board of Commissioners, Fayette Chamber of Commerce, The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Fayette, The Redstone Foundation and other partners. This funding has been designated for the continued promotion and marketing of Fayette County, PA.
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