Baldwin library director to begin new chapter — retirement
By Stephanie Hacke
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
There were the international trips that brought residents to parts of the world they had never before experienced.
A group was formed that focused on the community's past and gave it a new identity. Local youth who enjoyed acting found a venue each summer to perform. Yet, the best parts of each program that library director Joyce Chiappetta created and oversaw during her tenure at the Baldwin Borough Public Library during the last 16 years, were the people who participated.
“I've met so many good people,” said Chiappetta, 68, of Mt. Lebanon. “The appreciation that the patrons have for their library service is very rewarding. In some communities, I guess, it can be taken for granted, but not here.”
Chiappetta will retire at the end of September. Her last day at the library is Sept. 20.
“It's time,” said Chiappetta, who plans to spend her retirement with husband Tony, her four children, their spouses and her five grandchildren — with another on the way.
She started working at the Baldwin Borough Public Library in 1997 as a program coordinator. She became the library director in 2008.
The Baldwin Borough Public Library board, in a 6-0 vote last Thursday, approved hiring Jennifer Worley as library director. Worley, who last worked as a librarian at Shaler North Hills Library, starts Sept. 16.
Board members sought a new leader who would help the library continue to become a community center, have the library be a place where people can get help with technology needs and a person who would oversee the start of a Friends of the Library group, library board President Jim Hamel said.
“What we're looking for is the library to have a strong public outreach and strong community center feel,” Hamel said.
The board president said his goal is for the library to connect with the community by hosting programs throughout the borough.
Chiappetta did such a good job overseeing the library's day-to-day operations that she made it look easy, he said.
“She's been great,” said Betty Imbrogno, 84, of Baldwin Borough, who participates in the Afternoon Book Club.
Everything about the library director was exceptional, patrons said.
“We all worked as a team and when she became the director we all still worked as a team,” adult program coordinator Nancy Musser said. “She would direct us and then let us fly.”
Love of education
Chiappetta graduated from Duquesne University in 1965 with a degree in elementary education and received a master's degree in elementary education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1969.
She started her career as a first-grade teacher at Washington Elementary School in Mt. Lebanon, but left to raise her children.
As her children grew up, Chiappetta began substitute teaching — a job she held for 15 years.
But after several years, she realized she wanted something else. Chiappetta answered an advertisement for an opening at the Baldwin Borough Public Library for a program coordinator.
Although she had no professional program planning experience, her volunteer time at parent-teacher organizations and swim programs stacked her resume with plenty of planning activities.
After six months on the job, Chiappetta was offered a move to the children's librarian position.
“It was like being an elementary teacher all over again,” Chiappetta said. “I ended up having the best of both worlds.”
When the job for the library director came open, board members offered Chiappetta the position.
She accepted, receiving a provisional librarian's certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
One of the first programs Chiappetta started was the Baldwin Historical Society, which now is a self-sufficient group that stores its historical documents in the library, she said.
The goal, when Chiappetta was hired, was for the library to become a part of the community, she said.
“I created it because I realized there was a need for people to take part in their community,” she said. “I wanted to create a Baldwin identity. They have gone on to make a big difference in the borough.”
As a children's librarian, Chiappetta started the library's drama club. Plays were held in the program room, at first. Now, they are held in the auditorium at J.E. Harrison Middle School.
She also launched the library's day, weekend and international trips. The trips — to Ireland and Scotland — where at times as many as 75 residents have visited a foreign land together, have been a success, she said. The library renovation and creation of a children's room also was a big accomplishment for Chiappetta, she said. One goal that remains unfinished, though, she said, is the building of a new library.
“I hope that someday soon, in the not too distant future, Baldwin gets a library that it deserves,”
Chiappetta plans to return to the library and attend her favorite book clubs. She also will join her husband, Tony, who retired as superintendent in the Brentwood Borough School District in 2002, on a trip to Italy this fall to see his father's hometown of Regina.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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