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Events to mark Cranberry Public Library's 40th birthday

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
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Char Guarnaccia of Adams Township and Stew Weimer of Cranberry are two of Cranberry Public Library’s clerks who do the hands-on checking and filing of the books. Guarnaccia has worked at the library for one year, while Weimer has been a library clerk for 13 years.

Cranberry Public Library has planned a variety of events to mark its 40th birthday.

On Oct. 31, Halloween, staff and library patrons will celebrate the anniversary with cake and glimpses of pop culture from the past. And on that day only, late charges for books will be 3 cents, just like they were in 1973.

“We'll dress up in our '70s gear and play music,” said Leslie Pallotta, library director. “It's not every day you turn 40.”

The theme could have been “Frightfully 40” because the library's papers of incorporation were signed on Halloween, but “Forty and Feeling Groovy” was selected instead for a year's worth of events.

On Nov. 12, Dr. Cyril Wecht, noted forensic pathologist, attorney and medical-legal consultant, will open a speakers' series with his thoughts on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Laura Beattie of Cranberry was among the women who grew the idea for a community library.

“Before, we had a library truck from Butler County,” Beattie, 87, recalled.

The bookmobile stopped at a mom-and-pop store every few weeks. Those interested in creating a local library started by collecting books and setting up shelves in space given to them by township officials.

Beattie was one of the four women who kept the library open three days a week. She worked as a volunteer until 2005, even keeping the library's history.

The library started with a collection of 200 books to serve 7,485 residents. In March 1991, the library moved into its present space in the municipal center.

“I always wanted to be a librarian,” Beattie said, “but there was no money for college. We all worked together for all those years, and I had a job I loved.”

The library's current collection serves 26,093 registered patrons and has more than 93,000 items. Nearly 400,000 items are circulated every year.

“We're a small library when considered in the shadow of Carnegie and Northland,” Pallotta said.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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