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Page Turners group at Shaler North Hills Library open to all readers

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
Bethany Hofstetter | Shaler Journal
Ing Kalchthaler, head of library youth services, left, Kyle Brunick, Aaron McCaffrey and Kristen Langhorst listen to Ben Potter read “Arthur’s New Puppy” during a Page Turners group meeting at the Shaler North Hills Library.
Bethany Hofstetter | Shaler Journal
Kristen Langhorst, left, Ben Potter, Cassie Carlin, Head of Library Youth Services Ing Kalchthaler, Kyle Brunick and Aaron McCaffrey listen as Potter reads “Arthur’s New Puppy” during a Page Turners group meeting at the Shaler North Hills Library.
Bethany Hofstetter | Shaler Journal
Cassie Carlin, left, Ben Potter, Kristen Langhorst and Aaron McCaffrey listen as Head of Library Youth Services Ing Kalchthaler, center, reads “Harry the Dirty Dog” during a Page Turners group meeting at the Shaler North Hills Library.

The Shaler North Hills Library is expanding its programs to ensure people of all abilities have the opportunity to engage in book discussions.

Page Turners, a literacy group for students and young adults “with exceptional abilities,” invites people of all reading abilities to enjoy a story and group book discussion, and its popularity has grown in the past year.

“Even if they're reading or not reading, verbal or nonverbal, it's important people know the library is for everybody,” said Ing Kalchthaler, head of library youth services.

Kalchthaler recognized that the library provided book groups for many different groups of people and worked with Christin Pintar, a speech pathologist with the Shaler Area School District who works with many of the life-skills students with special needs, to promote the Page Turners program.

Page Turners meets every Wednesday evening from 7 to 7:45 p.m. at the Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mt. Royal Blvd.

“I'm in it because I want to get books, and it's nice to see familiar faces,” said Aaron McCaffrey, 16, of Shaler, who went to school with many of the Shaler Area graduates in the program.

Participants each choose a book to read aloud to the group and then discuss.

During one of April's programs, Ben Potter, 23, of Shaler, read “Arthur's New Puppy” aloud then talked about his dog and cats and asked the other participants about their pets.

Kristen Langhorst, 23, of Shaler, said she enjoys hanging out with friends in the Page Turners group and noticed the program even helps them each read better.

“I think that the benefit is it gives people a connection to something and gives them an opportunity to communicate,” Pintar said. “I just think, from being a speech pathologist, having something to communicate about — and books can do that — is the greatest benefit of that program.”

Pintar also is working with Kalchthaler to have her visit the high school's life-skills classes once a month for a special program. Recently, all of the district's life-skills students in grades four through 12 took a field trip to the library.

“We want to keep exposing them (to the library) and say, ‘The library is a place for them to go,'” Pintar said.

Kalchthaler said she has enjoyed watching the group grow over the past year and seeing old school friendships rekindled at the library.

“We had a need,” Kalchthaler said about creating the program. “It further uses the library resources, so the library can impact all of the community because that's why we're here.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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