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Friends of Mt. Pleasant Public Library seek historical photos

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Linda Harkcom | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Mt. Pleasant Public Library reference librarian Barbara Miller, (left) Friends of the Mt. Pleasant Public Library treasurer Theresa Benedict and library director Mary Lou Shick look over photos collected for a pictorial history book on Mt. Pleasant and the surrounding area. The organization is hoping members of the public will share their photos with them for the project. Photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013

The Friends of the Mt. Pleasant Public Library are looking for old photographs of the Mt. Pleasant area for a new book that will create a pictorial history of the borough.

While books from the “Images of America” series by Arcadia Publishing have been completed featuring other area communities, such as Norvelt and Scottdale, one has yet to be done showcasing Mt. Pleasant, according to borough resident Theresa Benedict, treasurer of the “Friends” organization.

“I'm surprised no one has done one on Mt. Pleasant, since we have so much history here,” she said.

After a friend brought that fact to Benedict's attention, the Friends group decided to work together to create one of the books, she said.

The series chronicles the histories of small towns and downtowns across the country through vintage images featuring the people, places and events that make up the history of each individual community, Benedict said.

The book will also feature historical photographs and information about nearby mining towns Standard and Standard Shaft, according to Mt. Pleasant Township resident Barbara Miller, a reference librarian at the library, located at 100 S. Church St. in the borough.

The group has not yet decided what other surrounding communities will be included, Miller added.

“We have to sit down with a map and look at the other books to see what areas have already been covered,” she said.

Benedict said there are seven or eight volunteers from the Friends group are currently working on the project.

They need around 200 photos for the book and the group is appealing to the community to share their photos with the organization, according to Mary Lou Shick, the library's director.

Miller said they are looking for photos from 1828 to present of structures, people, industry and social life.

“Go to your attic and dig through those old picture albums,” Miller said.

“We need unpublished pictures that show the economic and cultural growth of the town from its founding in 1828, though earlier drawings and maps are welcome for the introduction,” she said.

Shick said the group is also looking for photos that feature Mt. Pleasant's Main Street.

“We want to show the changing face of Main Street,” Shick said. “The businesses changed and the fashions changed over time.”

Miller said photos must be identifiable, and the group is asking those who loan photos to the project to provide the library with as much corresponding information about the photo as possible.

“We must be able to caption the pictures with a location. Names of people would be a plus,” Miller said.

Shick said people who have photos to lend to the project can place them in an envelope with their contact information, as well as any information they have about the photo.

The envelope can be dropped off at the library, and photo donors will be asked to fill out a permission form giving the organization the right to publish the photos in the book, she said.

Each photo, map, document or drawing will remain protected by an envelope until it is scanned and returned to the owner, Shick said.

Contributors will be credited for the pictures they lend, she said.

“If they do not want to leave their photos, they can call me to make an appointment to come in and have them scanned,” Shick said.

Benedict said photos are being accepted through Jan. 31.

The group must turn everything over to the publisher by March 4.

“It takes six months to publish so we hope to have them by the (28th annual Mt. Pleasant Glass & Ethnic) festival,” Benedict said. “Royalties from the book will come to the Friends of the Library, and then we will donate it back to the library.”

Those with questions or those seeking more information about the project are asked to call the library at 724-547-3850.

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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