HISTORY AND MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Western Allegheny Community Library is to inspire, engage and educate the community through high quality, fun, creative and informative programming and services.
The idea for a community library began on January 21, 1988, when four residents, Claudia Wagner and Kate Nicholson from North Fayette Township and Cathy Cummings and Liz Zamule from Oakdale Borough met to discuss the need for a library in the area. From this meeting formed Western Area Friends to Establish a Library (W.A.F.E.L.). W.A.F.E.L. decided to meet with the township supervisors, borough council and later West Allegheny School District administrators who all supported a library. The latter suggested that since Findlay Township is part of the school district they should also be included in the library project.
In May 1988, W.A.F.E.L. asked 30 area libraries for materials. They received book shelves, a card catalog, children's furniture and more than 12,000 books. Throughout the next year, the three communities worked together to raise money, participated in local community fairs, increased W.A.F.E.L. membership to 14, and with the assistance of Representative "Huck" Gamble, received a $50,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs.
The grant money was given to North Fayette Township in return for five years' lease on a 2,400 square-foot section of the former Imperial Christian Academy on Old Steubenville Pike. The official "grand opening" celebration was held November 12-17, 1990. The library opened with 3,400 books on the shelves.
Many changes have taken place since opening more than 20 years ago. In 1995, operating time was expanded from 30 to 52 hours due to the money from the Allegheny Regional Assets District (RAD) tax. In 1996, due to a donation from an anonymous donor, the library purchased new book shelves, a new circulation desk, and new furniture in the adult and children's areas. Western Allegheny Community Library continues to grow and flourish along with the surrounding communities.
In the spring of 1999 the library expanded into 1,200 square feet of new space, which is the the current Children's Department. This was made possible with the help of State Representative John Pippy by obtaining a $30,000 grant for community revitalization. North Fayette Township built the new addition. A library sign was installed with funds from state aid and RAD monies. The collection has grown to more than 35,000 materials, which includes books, audio books, DVDs, magazines and newspapers. As of November 1, 2011, our collection has grown to more than 43,000 items. In 2011, the Laurel Foundation enabled the library to remain open on Sundays, which continues to this day.