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Libraries get lift from Keystone funds

| Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Patrons and workers of the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville soon will be able to browse through books without worries of raindrops falling on their heads.

On Thursday, state officials awarded $150,000 in Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Funds to the Connellsville library and $65,950 to the Youngwood Area Public Library.

Carnegie Director Casey Sirochman said the Connellsville library will get a new roof.

“That's our No. 1 priority,” she said. “It's over 35 years old. We've had several leaks over the past five years.”

Officials also plan to improve lighting in some sections of the building, constructed in 1901 on South Pittsburgh Street, and to replace some windows, Sirochman said.

“I just walked in and heard our good news,” she said. “We're very excited.”

The Youngwood branch of the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library will use the funds to finish the interior of the library in the new Youngwood municipal building to be constructed, Director Cesare Muccari said.

“It means that, first of all, you're going to have a new facility for the public ... and it will be used more than it has been, even though it's been used regularly,” he said.

Overall, officials awarded more than $3.7 million to 15 libraries across the state.

Municipal applicants can qualify for up to $500,000 through the competitive grant process, said Tim Eller, spokesman for the state Education Department, which helps oversee the funding.

Since the program's inception in 1993, the state has awarded more than $23.6 million to support 212 projects in 48 counties.

The Connellsville library put up $150,000 in matching funds, with much of the local money coming from foundations and savings, Sirochman said.

Part of a $2.25 million bond issue will be used for the Youngwood match, Muccari said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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