Turning the page on 110 years
Sundays in Connellsville used to mean girls would put on their most graceful dress and head to the library to socialize with boys.“Girls finally caught on that boys were here, so they started coming,” said Casey Sirochman, director of the Carnegie Free Library. “It was the place to come because there was no entertainment. Really, there was nothing else to do.”
That was 100 years ago, but fast forward to today, Sirochman is determined to compete with the Internet and electronic books to make the library the hub of the community it was in 1903.
This Sunday, the Carnegie Free Library in Connellsville will celebrate its 110th birthday. The library plans to have 110 minutes of reading the written word, etiquette classes from yesteryear, children's story time and live music.
It will also give the library the opportunity to show off new features that Sirochman believes will attract people to the library.“One thing we're doing here is we're trying to go back to Carnegie's vision to be the hub of the community,” Sirochman said. To fulfill that mission, the library added a mezzanine where teens hang out and play video games, offers yoga classes in its auditorium and GED classes in a basement classroom, expanded a computer lab and will soon open a cafe and local-interest museum.“There's been some major updates inside,” she said. “It's been a labor of love.”When the library first opened, about 2,100 books were part of the collection. The buzz around town was the list of new arrivals that the newspaper printed every week, Sirochman said.
In 1957, 70,000 books were added to the collection. After an extensive weeding process, the collection was fine-tuned to 40,000 books. Although it was difficult for Sirochman to remove books from the collection, she said it was necessary when she found a “Feminism of the 1960s” book on the shelf in 2012.
The library is independent and counts on state, county and local funding, as well as donations, to keep it operating. Last year, Sirochman said the library's board was able to cut its deficit from about $70,000 to $50,000.She said she hopes people will be inclined to make donations when they see the improvements.
“The assumption in 1903 was that Connellsville would support this library,” she said. “A lot of donations keep it running. Local support is going to sustain the library.”
Last year, 8,722 people had library cards and 21,301 books were checked out.
In 1903, it was illegal for people to check books out on Sundays, but nowadays, Sirochman encourages people to stop in and check books out any day.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Couple hope Connellsville shop will attract trail users
- 3 oppose incumbent GOP Fayette commissioner
- Trail preparation commences in Connellsville
- Connellsville to host job fair
- Fayette judge: Man not competent to stand trial for fatal stabbing
- Energy firm fights Fayette County zoning ruling
- Connellsville, Fayette officials vow to find solution to WCVI building problem
- Frazier School District’s credit rating downgraded
- Ex-Masontown part-time officer charged with possessing sawed-off shotguns
- Official says Connellsville on right path
- Everson council agrees to buy 40 American flags