New director breathes new life into Baldwin Borough Library
The front doors of the old Wallace School building opened and a little girl burst inside — running as fast as she could ahead of mom and dad.
“Wait, wait, wait,” her mom called out. “Are you so, so excited?”
“Yes!” she yelled back as she ran toward the old classroom door.
Children rushed to get inside the Baldwin Borough Public Library program room, located to the rear of the old Wallace School, last Friday morning around 10:30.
“The way that they interact with the children is definitely important,” said Jessica Koteles, 25, of Baldwin Borough, as her children, McKenzie, 3, and Kylie, 1, ran ahead of her, dressed from head-to-toe in their bright pink flower patterns, excited to participate in “Preschool Alphabet Train.” “I'm a stay-at-home mom, so I try to keep them busy.”
There's a lot of excitement at the Baldwin Borough Public Library these days, with new staffers, programs and plans started for future improvements underway.
Under the direction of Jenny Worley, who started in September, the Baldwin library is working with a full staff that includes new children's librarian Dolores Colarosa and technology librarian Pam Richter. They also have expanded their hours to be open on Tuesdays, despite court hearings being held at the magisterial district judge's office located at the entrance of the building.
“The world is opening up to us,” Worley said.
Play time in Baldwin
Colarosa wasn't looking for a job when she saw the ad for the opening at the Baldwin library.
The direction the Baldwin library was headed and Worley's plans drew her in.
“She wanted to bring great programs for people of all ages — from babies to adults,” said Colarosa, 54, of Bethel Park, who started at the library last month. She previously worked at libraries in Bethel Park, Brentwood and Shaler.
The interview turned into a two-hour conversation. They had parallel visions for what a library should be — a place that offers the most creative programs for all residents, said Colarosa, who took over for Gina Leone when she left to become the director of the Scott Township Library.
Colarosa had kept in touch with families that attended her children's programs at the Brentwood library and their response to her return to the South Hills was positive.
Thirty-three people showed up for the first pre-school program she held.
“I just love it,” Colarosa said.
She plans to introduce new programs focused on math, art and music for youngsters and hopes they tell their parents, “We want to go to the library,” she said.
One-on-one technology help and monthly e-reader workshops are available at the Baldwin Borough Public Library.
“Really, any kind of technology help, I'll do it,” said Richter, 25, of Pittsburgh, who started at the Baldwin library about two months ago and works part-time as the technology librarian.
She helps patrons with technology-related questions, oversees programs of that sort and runs the library's social media accounts.
One-on-one sessions range from 30 to 45 minutes and mostly deal with Microsoft 8, Excel and e-reader questions in recent weeks.
Library leaders are working on a five-year strategic plan for the first time since 2006, Worley said. They recently held community meetings to get resident input.
“We just want to hear everything the community has to say,” Worley said.
The plan will include a financial forecast for the library and a vision for the future, based on what residents want, she said.
Smaller changes already are in the works.
“I'm always looking at why we're doing things,” Worley said.
When she took over at Baldwin, the library was not open on Tuesdays because court hearings were held that day and the lobby of the Wallace building was crowded with people in the early afternoon hours.
That didn't seem like a reason enough to keep the library closed for an entire day, Worley said. So, she talked with the board and staff who agreed to open the facility on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“If it makes people uncomfortable, they don't have to come during that time,” Worley said. By opening the library, the families of those waiting for a court hearing now will have a place to go.
“I would love for them to come in the library. Why not?” Worley said. “There's a way to work with it and not hide from it.”
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.