The Western Allegheny Community Library and North Fayette Township have recently been awarded a $50,000 Keystone grant to renovate the library. Before moving into the current building in 2013, the library board undertook an extensive renovation to prepare the space for the library, knowing that some projects would remain undone until after the move. About a third of the building remained unfinished, the outside area needed updating, and the roof would need replacing in the near future.
Now that the library has lived in its new space for a few years, more is known about how the community is using it and what is most needed. An ideal plan took shape of a redesigned Youth Services area, with a designated family play space and nursing mothers lounge. The library also needed a larger teen area for its growing collection and programming, as well as additional tutor rooms for quiet study. An expanded children’s room with a designated Youth Services customer service desk also emerged as a potential improvement.
“We were fortunate in being able to live in this space for a while, because the needs of our community became more clear with time. Use of the library has been expanding steadily every year we have been here, which gives us the “good” problem of needing more space. Luckily, we have it for the taking – and we can grow again!” said Pam Perry, Library Board President.
Thanks to the encouragement it received from its supporting municipalities, Western Allegheny Community Library was able to apply for and receive the Keystone grant. The ideas for the improved space will become a reality beginning in late 2017. “We are thrilled to be the recipient of this Keystone grant and are extremely thankful to Senator Reschenthaler and his office for their role in acquiring the funds. This grant will help us continue to move the library forward and better serve the needs of our community,” stated Amanda Kirby, Library Director.
Western Allegheny Community Library is one of 27 libraries across the state awarded money from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund to rehabilitate or update library facilities. “Pennsylvania’s public libraries are an incredibly valuable resource to communities, a safe haven that provides access to knowledge, information, and even unimagined new worlds, all for nothing more than a swipe of a card,” said PA Govenor Tom Wolf in a press release announcing the grant. “As we make investments in teachers and students, we must also continue to invest in our libraries, as they serve as both a resource and an escape to all patrons, no matter their age, background or which city or town they call home.”