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Youngwood Library 'a dream come true' for bookworm

Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Marilynn Brown of Youngwood, a volunteer at the Youngwood Area Public Library, stands for a portrait on Tuesday, November 12, 2013.

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By Kate Wilcox
Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 11:57 p.m.

No matter what city she was in, Marilynn Brown would stop in at the local library to gaze at the neat rows of books and wish her hometown library looked the same.

The longtime Youngwood Library volunteer and past president loved to imagine a time when her town would have a similar library.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought we'd be able to do it,” Brown said. “This is just a dream come true.”

But now, the library she has been with since 1970 is housed in the new borough building, with bright sunlight streaming in through walls of windows and stacks of books settled on fresh carpets.

“I always thought, ‘Will I live long enough to see it?' ” Brown said.

Brown, 82, joined the library board at the request of several friends of hers who were on the board in the 1970s. At the time it was housed in a small building on Depot Street, and then moved to a house on Third Street across from the Youngwood post office. Brown became president in 1983, serving until the library became a branch of the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library in 2009.

“It's one of these positions you keep until you die,” she said. “Unless something comes up other­wise.”

The library is now on the site of Brown's old elementary school next to the former Youngwood High School on South Sixth Street.

Brown serves on the fundraising committee, which is charged with finding matching funds for a grant to pay for the new building fixtures.

She got her start in libraries while taking the bus to Greensburg, where she had her first library card around age 11. When Youngwood Area Library opened in 1955, Brown was thrilled.

“I always say the library is a place for lots of things besides books,” she said.

Brown has always loved to read, starting at age 8 with a neighbor's library filled with Bobbsey Twins and Honey Bunch books.

She still reads any fiction book she can get her hands on. Brown's daughter would tease her that, on vacation, half of her suitcase would be filled with paperbacks, so Brown recently made the transition to a reading tablet, which lets her check electronic copies of books out of the library.

Brown said she doesn't miss being the president of the library, but treasures the network of volunteers that still support the library.

“Our patrons do support us any way that they can,” she said.

After graduating from Youngwood High School, Brown went to the Pinkerton School for Secretaries and worked at Robertshaw until she married in 1954. Despite raising three children, though, Brown always found time for books.

“God said the seventh day was to rest, and that is my day to rest and read,” she said, laughing. “I still read on Sundays.”

Kate Wilcox is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or

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