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Coraopolis Memorial Library brightens children's area

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Riley Carlo, 15, displays the reading-themed mural she created for the children's section of the Coraopolis Public Library, Friday, August 9, 2013. With help from her mother, Lisa, the mural required 20 hours of time, and was painted entirely by brush. While she enjoys art projects, Riley doesn't think it will become a career, but rather a labor of love for the ninth-grader.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Riley Carlo, 15, displays the reading-themed mural she created for the children's section of the Coraopolis Public Library, Friday, August 9, 2013. With help from her mother, Lisa, the mural required 20 hours of time, and was painted entirely by brush. While she enjoys art projects, Riley doesn't think it will become a career, but rather a labor of love for the ninth-grader.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Riley, 15, and Lisa Carlo display the reading-themed mural they created for the children's section of the Coraopolis Public Library, Friday, August 9, 2013. The mural required 20 hours of time, and was painted entirely by brush. While she enjoys art projects, Riley doesn't think it will become a career, but rather a labor of love for the ninth-grader.

When Coraopolis librarian Lisa Carlo began a reading program last January for parents and their infants, she was concerned about the cold — and she didn't mean the temperature.

“We needed to do something to make our library inviting to families,” said the part-time clerk at the Coraopolis Memorial Library.

Built in 1955, the library is undergoing updates. But the downstairs children's area seemed drab. Carlo wanted to brighten it.

She had previously painted murals, but this was a large project that would take time. A painting of Snoopy, and the artistic talents of her daughter, Riley, 15, came to the rescue. The mom-daughter team spent a week of five-hour days drawing and painting together.

“They did an awesome job, and they even painted old book shelves to make them look like pages of a book,” said Susan McClellan, library director. “Snoopy is timeless. I love how he appeals to all ages.”

Earlier this summer, McClellan saw a picture on Pinterest, a popular website for craft and decorating ideas, depicting Snoopy as a Scout leader. He was leading a hike up a stack of books, beside the words, “Reading is an Adventure that Never Ends.”

The image appealed to Carlo, who teaches craft classes at the library. She and Riley used an overhead projector to shine the image onto the wall, draw it in pencil and then paint it.

“I liked painting Woodstock and Snoopy. We added details to give them character,” said Riley, a sophomore at Lincoln Park Performance Arts Charter School in Midland.

She pointed out the white in Snoopy's eye that makes him look happy as he walks up the books. “The picture just showed a black dot, so we added details to it,” she said.

The library added a foam alphabet mat, child-sized chairs, puzzles and musical instruments. In addition to programs for all ages — including knitting and job fairs — the library has a dozen Early Literacy Kits for children 2 to 5, and a collection of 60 puppets that patrons can check out. The library added a toddler class for parents and children 18 months to age 3. “It fills in that gap between our infant class and our preschool class for 4-year-olds,” Carlo said.

Another project in the works is an autism learning center, which will be near the Snoopy-inspired children's corner.

“We're a small library, and people forget that we're here. We're excited to have inviting programs and areas. We hope more families come to check us out,” McClellan said.

Jane Miller is a freelance writer.

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