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Connellsville's library newest chapter: The Mezz for teens

Nancy Henry | for the Daily Courier
The Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville is celebrating National Library Week by unveiling the grand opening of its new teen area, The Mezz. At 4 p.m. April 17, teens will be officially welcomed to the area for refreshments, gaming, studying and computer usage. In addition, there will be open chatting in person with library director Casey Sirochman until 7:30 p.m., about their ideas for the area. Visiting The Mezz are (from left) Sheena Bloom, Samantha Nicholson and Dayton Nicholson.

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By Nancy Henry
Saturday, April 6, 2013, 1:11 a.m.

Connellsville's Carnegie Free Library will conduct an official grand opening at 4 p.m. April 17 for its remodeled teen section — The Mezz.

The section is a result of a collaborative effort in the memories of Mary Virginia Foley, Carolyn Krepps and Julia Allen.

Allen, who was the librarian for 37 years, died several years ago.

Foley taught at Connellsville Area Junior High East, now Connellsville Area Junior High School, for 25 years. Krepps was Foley's daughter, also an educator.

Library Director Casey Sirochman said the mezzanine has been transformed into the teen section.

Levin's, the furniture business, supported the project in honor of Sally Levin by donating teen-themed furniture.

The primary focus of The Mezz will be educational, according to Sirochman. Laptop computers have been purchased with a Gates Foundation grant, and wireless Internet service is being provided.

“I am excited that the area is completed and now able to not only offer teens a space to study, but also a place to utilize for social opportunities, such as Wii gaming events and competitions,” Sirochman said.

“I've already noticed how moving the teen-themed book collection upstairs has drawn youth to the area. It is so nice to be able to offer a larger area for reading, with plush chairs, tables and other furniture.”

Local youth organizations targeting teen programming are invited to use the space during business hours. Teens should check the website — — regularly for events at The Mezz.

Celebrating 110 years, the library opened its doors in 1903 — thanks to a generous gift of Andrew Carnegie, with the promise from Connellsville that the town would provide for the continued upkeep of the building.

The Connellsville library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and now houses 40,000 books, videos, DVDs, e-books, audiobooks, periodicals, and free wireless Internet-enabled computers.

Patrons have access to free and low-cost programs for children, teens and adults.

The library, at 299 S. Pittsburgh St., can be reached at 724-628-1380.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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