Mont Alto Library to close

March 07, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Mont Alto Library to close

MONT ALTO, Pa. - By Friday afternoon a petition asking the Franklin County Library System's Board of Directors to keep the Mont Alto branch library open sat unsigned on the librarian's desk.

That, said Patty Kocek, one of two part-time librarians in Mont Alto, says more than anything why the board will close the library March 27 after serving the Quincy-Mont Alto area for more than 35 years.

"I can't argue with the board for closing the library. Circulation is way down. We didn't think the petition would do much good to convince the board to keep it open, but we did want to make an attempt." Kocek said.


"People just don't seem to be reading anymore," said Kocek, 47, who also serves as a secretary for the Mont Alto borough government.

"The older people who used to come in have passed on and younger people don't seem to want to bother," said Kocek, who remembers using the library often as a child growing up in the community.

Kocek's first job after graduating from high school in 1971 was working as a part-time librarian in Mont Alto, a job she will hold until March 27, 1998.

She is also secretary for the Mont Alto borough government. The borough council gives the library free space in the rear of the log cabin building that serves as the Borough Hall.

Kocek said she believes that if the board put more money into the library to offer more services patronage might pick up again. It costs $5,800 a year to keep the library open.

"This flies in the face of Gov. (Tom) Ridge's plan to put more money into libraries in Pennsylvania," Kocek said.

Ezaura Hickok, 64, Mont Alto's other part-time librarian, said she is saddened by the closing. She has worked for the library since 1988. She will work one day a week at the Ragged Edge Library on Ragged Edge Road in Chambersburg, Pa., when the Mont Alto branch closes.

She said circulation at Mont Alto has declined to the point that some days no one comes in the library.

"It varies from nobody to maybe three or four people a day," Hickok said. "It used to be steady all day. We went from circulating 400 books a month down to sometimes less than 100.

"The older people will miss it, but the young people don't use it much, and I really don't know why. Maybe parents aren't reading to their children anymore," she said.

Mont Alto is one of three branch libraries served by the Ragged Edge Library, which had been called the Franklin County Library until a reorganization of the county's library system in January.

The other branches are in St. Thomas and Fort Loudon, neither of which will be closed, officials said.

Susanne Detrich is treasurer of the county library board. She said the board is looking for ways to make the whole system more efficient and closing Mont Alto is one thing the members could do to help the budget.

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