'Steggy' marks 10th anniversary at Ligonier library

Linda Norris, the children's librarian at the Ligonier Valley Library, (from left)and children's assistant Bobbi McDowell decorate 'Steggy' the library's dinosaur for Halloween.    on Thursday, October 17, 2013.
Linda Norris, the children's librarian at the Ligonier Valley Library, (from left)and children's assistant Bobbi McDowell decorate 'Steggy' the library's dinosaur for Halloween. on Thursday, October 17, 2013.
Photo by Brian F. Henry | Trib Total Media
| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

A prehistoric member of the Ligonier community is celebrating its 10th year in the Valley.

Ligonier Valley Library will play host to a birthday party at 10 a.m. Saturday to celebrate the town's friendly fiberglass dinosaur, Pixelsaurus, and its decade of residency at the library.

“The kids absolutely love this dinosaur,” said children's librarian Linda Norris. “There's no other library in the world that has a dinosaur like this.”

In 2003, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History presented “Dino Mite Days,” a fundraising program during which 100 fiberglass dinosaurs, donning designs by numerous artists, were displayed throughout the region and auctioned off to raise money for the museum.

“Floor to Fauna,” a dinosaur painted by artist and Ligonier native Quentin Curry, was displayed in Ligonier's Mellon Park, for six days. The decorative creature fell victim to vandals, losing its head and part of its tail during the unfortunate incident.

“There was no reason for it,” said Norris. “It was just a shame.”

Resident Marge Hermann felt compelled to help save the dinosaur somehow, as her son, Ted, was working for the museum at the time and was involved with “Dino Mite Days.”

The “Save the Dinosaur” committee chose to sell $3 chocolate dinosaurs from Ligonier Sweet Shop at various local merchants. Their cause grew popular in the town, attracting more and more residents and business owners to the mission. According to Hermann, $9,000 worth of the novelty treats were sold to fund the creation of another dinosaur.

“It was a great experience and a real tribute to all the merchants in Ligonier and the people that helped,” said Hermann.

Research Castings, who supplied the first dinosaur, donated a second fiberglass dinosaur for Curry to design.

The “Friends of the Ligonier Valley Library” group later purchased “Pixelsaurus” at auction for $4,200, so it could have a permanent, safe home in the Ligonier Valley Library, Norris said.

Carnegie Museum contributed $1,500 to the price of the dinosaur from excess monies generated by the “Save the Dinosaur” campaign.

Curry appreciated the opportunity to paint another dinosaur, making his second design more “pixelated and digital” than the first. He used colors to make the design symbolic – red and black for Ligonier Valley School District, red for Heinz Ketchup and yellow for Pittsburgh's sports teams. The dinosaur was dubbed “Pixelsaurus.”

Since its arrival at the library, “Pixelsaurus,” which library staff lovingly refer to as “Steggy,” has become a fixture in the library, Norris said.

“He very patiently accepts getting decorated for different holidays,” she said. “He's coated with spider webs and spiders for Halloween, a Santa hat for Christmas and an Abraham Lincoln beard and top hat for President's Day.”

The dinosaur was even the center of an April Fool's Day prank several years ago, Norris said.

“He was kidnapped, and the ransom was six full six Snickers bars and one Kit-Kat,” she said. “Literally half of the ransom was paid. The Snickers and Kit-Kats were cut in half, and the other half would be paid when Steggy was returned. He was discovered back in the picture books hiding under a sheet.”

Curry said he loves that “Pixelsaurus” resides at the library.

“The library was always a safe place for me as a kid,” he said. “I'd go there a lot after school. I'm very happy that Pixelsaurus is able to interact with so many people on a daily basis.”

At the birthday party, cake will be served at 10 a.m. Children in kindergarten through second grade may sign up for a program presented by the Carnegie Science Center at 10:30 a.m., during which children will create a cast of a fossil, play a dinosaur survival game and listen to a Magic School Bus story about dinosaurs.

Children in grades three through five may participate in another Carnegie Science Center program beginning at 1:30 p.m., where they will learn about excavating fossils, fossil casts and dinosaur history.

Both programs are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Seating is limited.

For more information, contact the library at 724-238-6451.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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