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Ford City library seeks more input

Renatta Signorini
| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007

FORD CITY -- Input from the community and more collaboration with local organizations are important to the Ford City Public Library.

The opinions and extra minds can help director Anita Bowser decide what is best for the library's future, along with her own plans.

"I would really like to see the library collaborate more with organizations and entities within in the community," she said.

An open house, held yesterday at the library, was a chance for patrons, residents or organizations to find out what the library has to offer or make their own suggestions. A lot of library patrons are vocal, Bowser said, but there are plenty of residents who don't frequent the facility.

"It would be really nice to hear from those folks," she said.

Bowser hopes to improve the library's space situation, which would facilitate more interaction and use. An expansion out the rear of the building -- where a small parking lot is now -- is in her plan for the next several years, she said.

The added space would allow the library to tackle a storage problem, move computers to the front of the building, add cozy space for book reading and increase mobility for wheelchair-bound patrons.

But before the library is prepared to tackle the grant process for an expansion, other improvements can be made such as technology updates, she said.

Although no projects have been set in stone, Bowser hopes to have the cooperation from new and old borough council members.

The library is an important asset to the borough, she said, because a wide variety of people utilize it. Affluent and educated residents come in, as well as people from the other end of the spectrum, she said.

"You get everybody from the community in to the library ... and everybody's the same," she said.

The library opened in 1946 at the Ford City Elementary School. In 1949, it moved to a different location. After a fund drive, the library opened its current Fourth Street location in 1975. The library upgraded to a computer automated check-out system in 2001.

Services the library offers include: large print books, audio books, copies, fax service, interlibrary loan, videos, CDs and DVDs and a meeting room.

The citizens of Ford City seem to have a sense of ownership over the library, Bowser said.

"They seem to be involved and proud of the library," she said.

The people who frequent the facility range from elementary students to the elderly, Bowser said. The students mostly utilize computers for playing games while older residents are job hunting or checking e-mail, she said.

Bowser is hoping to get seven more computers to replace or add to the library's existing five, which are outdated, she said. The high demand for computers is proof that keeping up with technology is important, she said.

"A lot of times, that's the first time that older people come in contact with a computer," she said. "It's up to the library to help them use the technology."

In addition to books and the Internet, the library opens doors for people, especially those living in rural areas, Bowser said.

"They can have access to so many things they wouldn't otherwise have access to," she said.

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