In calling for a library for South Fayette Township to call its own, Linda Garofalo seems to have been onto something.
“A library would increase our chances of attracting people here,” she told township commissioners back in 1992. “Areas are rated on their schools and whether they have a public library.”
The U.S. Census of two years earlier counted 10,329 in South Fayette, a figure that hadn’t changed all that much since at least the 1930s, while the current population estimate exceeds 15,500.
Whatever the case, Garofalo and the task force she headed convinced the elected officials to designate $5,000 in the 1993 township budget toward forming a library, and they quickly upped the ante to $13,000 at the start of the year.
And on Jan. 9, 1994, a grand-opening celebration paved the way for the library opening for business the following day.
In commemoration of a quarter-century of operation, library staffers, board of trustee members and other interested residents are planning a 25th Anniversary Silver Celebration for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 9 at Sygan SPNJ Lodge No. 6, 540 Third Ave.
The family-friendly event will feature a slate of entertainment, including storytime with costumed characters, crafts, face painting, and performances by Bollywood-style dancers and Magicman T.J. Hill. Providing a food truck is Lions Den Cafe and Deli on Millers Run Road.
The South Fayette Township Municipal Building on Millers Run Road always has been the site for the library, dating back to its start in a 30-by-50-foot meeting room with books and supplies received through donations.
The initial organizers had the task of sorting the books, according to Andrea Iglar, township director of communications and community development.
“They talk about going through, by hand, 600 boxes of books and picking out 5,000 to 6,000 books for the collection, and pasting in the pockets” to hold circulation cards.
She said the library also jumped right into what at the time was the brave new world of technology.
“One of the township newsletters says, ‘They also are offering a thing called, quote, the internet, where you can get information.’”
These days, the library offers plenty of access to computers and room for programming in its far more substantial amount municipal building space, which includes designated areas for teens and for younger children.
South Fayette Township Library is located only a few miles from its counterpart in Bridgeville Borough, and they share resources through a management agreement. Administratively, Ben Hornfeck serves as director of the two libraries, and Erin Weaver, assistant director, while staff members at both work cooperatively.
“They’ll plan programs together, and then they’re able to offer them here and Bridgeville, with different people taking the lead,” Hornfeck said. “We did a robotics program this summer, and we were able to use the robotics materials from both libraries at one library a time to better serve more kids.”
For more information about South Fayette Township Library, visit www.southfayettelibrary.org. Information on sponsorship and donations for the 25th Anniversary Silver Celebration is available by calling 412-257-8660.