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Library helps people find their roots

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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The Carnegie Free Library in Connellsville marks the availability of more than 35,000 books with barcodes. From left are library director Casey Sirochman; Anita Noel and Gary Lyons of DNP IMS, which donated the barcodes; and library clerk Shirley Rosenberger.

Patrons of the Carnegie Free Library, Connellsville, will have free access to ancestry.com and other online reference materials to help them in their geneological research, thanks to the generosity of the late Louis Simons, who left Carnegie Library a financial gift in 1977, in memory of his sister, Devora Leah Simons.

The Community Foundation of Fayette County has managed these funds since Louis Simons' death in 2007. Per his wishes, the Community Foundation of Fayette County has granted to Carnegie Library the remaining balance of $12,000.

Marilyn McDaniel, director of the Community Foundation of Fayette County, explained the terms of the gift. “This bequest was made to the library, who had it for a number of years and then turned it over to the Community Foundation of Fayette County to be invested,” McDaniel said. “According to the terms of this bequest, it is to be returned to the Carnegie Library in 2012, after which the Carnegie Library has one year to spend these funds on reference materials.”

One concern needed to be resolved before the funds could be released.

“The bequest specified printed reference materials.” McDaniel said. “This bequest was made in 1977. Mr. Simons could not have foreseen the Internet and other online reference tools. We consulted with the Community Foundation board of directors and also the Council on Foundations, which advises all foundations, including individual, corporate and family. It was agreed that using the money for online reference materials would be consistent with the bequest.”

Casey Sirochman, head librarian at Carnegie Free Library, said that the new genealogical materials meet a rising interest in genealogy.

“It's the new buzzword right now,” Sirochman said.

“People are becoming more interested in it.”

The library has a new barcode system, thanks to the efforts of Anita Noel, production coordinator of DNP IMS, a subsidiary of Dai Naippon Printing Co., the world's largest manufacturer of ribbons used in thermal printing.

Noel began the project in August 2011 when she learned that the Carnegie Library needed volunteers. Noel learned that, among other things, the library's book collection needed to be barcoded.

“I work for a company that makes barcodes,” Noel said.

“After checking with my supervisor, I offered to donate to the library the barcodes it needed.”

With the help of computer software that contained the book numbers for the library's books, Noel printed the barcodes.

Sirochman said that the barcodes improve services for library patrons.

“Everything is automated now,” she said. “People can reserve and renew books online. Also, we can track books more easily now.”

The Carnegie Free Library is located at 299 S. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville. For more information, call 724-628-1380.

Barbara Starn is a freelance writer.

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