Magazine article American Libraries

A Sad Day in Library, Pa

Magazine article American Libraries

A Sad Day in Library, Pa

Article excerpt


THE LIBRARIAN OF THE public library of Library, Pa., won't be attending ALA's Annual Conference next month in New Orleans. In April, just after National Library Week, she was shackled to ther post even as the Public Library Association held its national meeting 12 miles north in Pittsburgh. The library in Library, Pa., has no staff time to spare; in fact, the librarian had to stick around that week in April to fight for the library's life.

Drive south from Pittsburgh on Route 88 (Library Road) through a row of small communities, and when you hit the first open farmland, stop: you've just passed through Library, Pa.

Turn back into Library, as we did the week after NLW, and take a right when you spot the "Library Laundramat." Pass a streetcar named Library, then the Library Eagles Lodge, and the Library Community Church. Another turn, up a hill, and there you are: at the modest brick South Park Township municipal offices, one wing of which constitutes the town library.

Inside, Pitt library school graduates Linda Yee and Mary Kohut run the show--a busy one. Outside, too, it was busy the day we arrived: More than a dozen townspeople stood in the rain holding such signs as "Don't cut library service," and "Our children need the library."

Something was awry in Library.

A personal quest

I'd been looking for an excuse to get to Library since 1986, when I first learned such a place existed. I'd fantasized an apple-pie community of citizens who called themselves Libraryans and cherished the homey Library Library to its last book. Library became a personal Mecca; but it wasn't until April 28 that I could slip away from the nearby PLA-along with a crew from Library Video Magazine--to pursue the journey.*

I came with some background--a remarkable story relayed by former local Librarian Connie Salvayon: The town was named Library in 1833, when the U.S. government wanted to establish a post office in the area. Townspeople, many of whom belonged to a new subscription library, quickly chose that civilized nomenclature over the locality's popular name: Loafer's Hollow.

The Library Post Office still functions, and the Library is on the map--though it has become part of South Park Township. The public library itself, started in 1960 by a women's club, is the South Park Township Library, not the Library Library of my fantasy. …

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