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Pair of grants give boost to Charleroi library

| Saturday, May 3, 2014, 6:17 p.m.
John K. Tener Public Library board president Linda Stennett helps David Megela of Donora log onto the new computers the library purchased with a grant from the Calistri Foundation on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at the library in Charleroi.

The John K. Tener Library has operated for years on a very tight budget.

So when the library recently received two grants, the funds were a welcome opportunity to make some much-needed improvements to the library.

The work will enhance the children's section and add a computer center in the library.

Located in downtown Charleroi, the Tener Library serves all of the communities in the Charleroi Area School District — Charleroi, Dunlevy, Fallowfield Township, North Charleroi, Speers, Stockdale and Twilight.

The two grants, totaling $20,000, represent nearly 20 percent of the library's annual budget. A $10,000 Calistri Family Foundation grant was used to purchase additional computers and upgrade existing equipment. The Calistri Computer Center was created, said Linda Stennett, president of the J.K. Tener Library in Charleroi.

“We would not have been able to do this work without the grants,” Stennett said.

“We needed new computers, new printers, routers, tables and chairs for the computer and Wi-Fi area,” she said. “The grant is being used to help us bring our computer availability to current technology standards.”

Installation was done by volunteers. The money received was used specifically for the computers and equipment, Stennett said.

The Calistri Computer Center is open and a part of the main part of the library, she said.

“We thank them for their interest in the library and that residents have computers for research and job hunting skills,” Stennett said.

In addition, the library received a $10,000 from the Grable Foundation to upgrade lighting and outlets in the children's department. The electrical work was done by Godla Mechanical in Charleroi.

The Pittsburgh-based Grable family foundation's goal is to fund projects that help with programs for children.

Stennett said with the improvements that the foundation funded, the Tener Library is planning some arts programs for children and young adults incorporated through the spring and summer with its reading program as a result of the improvement children's section of the library.

“We are very grateful,” Stennett said. “These were things we needed. We were glad these foundations donate for these things which benefit our patrons and the community.”

The library's finances are slowly looking up, Stennett said.

This year, the library received a $2,000 donation from Fallowfield Township. This is the first time the library has received financial assistance from the township, Stennett said.

Although it is a donation and not part of the township's annual budget, the board president said she is hopeful it becomes an annual budget allocation.

In addition, North Charleroi increased its budget for the library to $800, an increase from $500 in 2013.

Meanwhile, library officials were able to trim the annual budget to budget $100,854. That represented a savings of nearly $6,000. The savings were made, in part, by eliminating some phone lines and acquiring an improved copier contract.

“We had put money in the budget for furniture replacements, but by getting the Calistri grant we were able to save that money,” Stennett said.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or