Former Baldwin youth services librarian named director of Scott Library
By Dona S. Dreeland
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Gina Leone is living her dream.
Leone, 38, had been the youth services librarian at the Baldwin Borough Library since 2008 but now she has the opportunity to direct a local library. She started this week as the new director of the Scott Township Public Library.
“We couldn't be happier with the excellent candidate we chose,” said Tony Ahart, the Scott library's board president.
Leone, a Collier Township resident, worked full-time at the Scott library from 2003 to 2005 and part-time there while she studied at the University of Pittsburgh to earn a master's degree in library and information science.
Leone replaced Janet Forton, who moved to Columbus late last year. Forton had been Scott's director since 2005.
When she was young, Leone said, she discovered the joys of reading. “My mom, Ann Leone, was always an avid reader, and I thank her for passing on that love of the written word,” she said.
She remembers early visits to the Beechview Library with her brothers for the summer reading program.
“The library was so cool, literally, because the building had air conditioning and the coldest water fountain, and was welcoming,” she said.
Leone went on to earn a bachelor's degree in communications and media studies from Pennsylvania State Univeristy-Erie, The Behrend College. After graduation, she entered the job market, doing administrative work and later, becoming manager of a business center.
The year 2001 was the turning point of her career, when she and her roommate were unemployed. She visited Beechview Library to search for jobs, and found positions in the substitute pool of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system. She worked at libraries in Hazelwood and Homewood and ultimately, Scott and Baldwin.
“It took a lot of passion,” she said.
A job with the University of Pittsburgh saved her tuition dollars.
Being a library director always had been part of her career objective.
“Scott has a strong team,” she said.
Jenny Worley, director of Baldwin's library, remembers the “wonderful comments from kids, families and Head Start teachers” about Leone.
“She is a very kind, attentive, caring person for the children,” Worley said. “During story time, she always made them feel at home and have a good time. You could tell she enjoyed it.”
Leone is looking forward to the new challenge in a library where she once served as the first youth services director. At Scott, she'll direct one full-time and nine part-time employees and keep the circulation numbers growing from 2011's 88,000 items, the most recent tally.
“I love getting down on the story-time carpet and watching kids grow and become lifelong learners and library users,” she said.
Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or email@example.com.
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