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Bridgeville, South Fayette libraries look to replace director

| Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
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Rebecca Long, director of the South Fayette Township and Bridgeville Public libraries

Risk-taking and balance are two qualities Rebecca Long, director of the South Fayette Township and Bridgeville Public libraries, hopes her successor has.

She relied on both as she managed the libraries after their partnership began in January. Long, 39, her husband and two children, will return to Erie, her hometown, at the end of the month. The library board will continue its search.

Interim staffers will fill her roles at each site. Paul Antoline will take the lead at Bridgeville. Jody Wilson, family and youth service manager at South Fayette, will step into the interim role there.

Long and the board developed the transition plan this month.

“Both libraries have fabulous and very capable staffs, and boards that are willing to think in alternative manners to address how to best provide library services to this area,” Long said.

Both staffs made adjustments because of the merger. In November 2013, South Fayette Library agreed to manage the day-to-day operations at Bridgeville, allowing both staffs to focus on serving their patrons.

Through the agreement, the libraries would share programming expertise, support functions and outreach, according to Charity Leonette of the Allegheny County Library Association at that time. Bridgeville was a small community with a limited tax base and a new facility that served as a community anchor. South Fayette had a growing population. Long, who was serving as director in South Fayette at the time, now would take on Bridgeville.

“The demand for children's library services from print materials to programming has grown exponentially,” she said of South Fayette's focus on the young families in the township.

Library use there has increased 45 percent since 2011. Bridgeville's patrons have visited the library steadily over the years. Its new large community room can welcome in speakers with special interests to serve new audiences. This dichotomy in populations creates different needs in each building.

“We're looking for someone to have a strategic view,” said Bob Milacci, South Fayette's board president and head of the search committee. “We need someone to look at what's going on in both, continue the work that Becca started and make better usage of the resources that we have.”

The committee hopes to have a new director in place in a few months, said Milacci.

Long would love to be remembered for her passion in providing and improving library services. She will serve as technology coordinator at the Erie County Public Library.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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