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Expansion of Murrysville children's area wraps up soon

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
(c) 2012 Aaron Loughner
Work on the Murrysville Community Library Children's room expansion is expected to be completed by the end of January. Workers such as Steve Tucker of Tri State Flooring are putting the finishing touches on several aspects of the project. Tucker was laying carpeting on Dec. 28. Aaron Loughner | For the Murrysville Star

An expansion of the children's area at Murrysville Community Library is almost complete.

The $165,000 project will be complete by the end of month, library director Jamie Falo said, but that doesn't mean the library is done raising money.

Officials are eying the future and a half-million-dollar goal. So far, the library foundation has raised $375,000 during its capital campaign. That money will fund the children's library expansion, a technology overhaul and the addition of a teen/young adult section. It also will establish the nest egg for an endowment.

Members of the foundation had hoped to raise $500,000 by the end of 2012, but the campaign was extended, said Jim Hamilton, a fundraiser for the group. Hamilton said the foundation is looking for donations of all sizes, but those who donate $1,000 or more will be recognized on the library's donor wall.

“In Murrysville, the community has been so generous with the library,” Falo said. “It is quite overwhelming to see the generosity. It makes you feel like you're a vital part of a community.”

The fundraising campaign will drastically change the library, said Charles Greenburg, a member of the foundation board.

Previously, the children's area predominantly was dedicated to storing and displaying books, CDs and DVDs. The expansion into the former tax office will enable the library to offer craft tables, computers and extra seating for children.

The next step was to replace every computer in the library, Greenburg said.

“The computers are very, very old,” he said.

The computers no longer support the online library system, Greenburg said, which is among the library's most popular offerings. During a second phase, the library will expand and enhance its teen/young adult section and renovate the circulation desk.

Falo said the new technology will be in place by the time the children's expansion opens.

“We were so happy to be able to raise funds to accommodate us for that,” Falo said. “The computers are so slow. Hopefully, this will draw more people to our library.”

Connie Cauvel, president of the Murrysville Community Library Foundation, said the upgrades will help the library remain vital, which in turn will benefit everyone.

“What levels the playing field for every single person in Murrysville is the library. There's no limit to what you can do. The library is a cornerstone of our democracy,” Cauvel said.

The final goal for the fundraising campaign is to create a $200,000 endowment that can help fund future remodeling and improvements. Because only a percentage of the endowment would be able to be withdrawn at a time, establishing it would help keep the library strong into the future, Falo said. “Funding is so uncertain from year to year,” Falo said. “This is a way to help us sustain the library and help us get through, year to year. We often think we're the heart of a community, and it seems the community supports that.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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