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Waynesboro library undergoes renovation

May 07, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - What today is the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library was started in 1893 as a reading room on the rented second floor of a building on Waynesboro's Public Square.

By 1907, it became a circulation library and the next year it moved to larger quarters on the second floor of a bank building on the square, according to Jacqueline Barlup of Waynesboro, who wrote a history of the library.

It became the Waynesboro Free Library in 1921 and moved to the second floor of Borough Hall, Barlup said.

Its history goes back even further. In 1817, a man named Alexander Hamilton walked into Waynesboro carrying his belongings in a bundle. According to Barlup, he started a business and eventually became wealthy enough to have a 16-room colonial house, the same house near Borough Hall that his granddaughter, Jane Hamilton Yost, inherited. When she died in 1943, she left it to the borough for use as a public library to be named after her grandfather.

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The library moved into the Hamilton/Yost house in 1955, its present location.

The library is undergoing a $50,000 renovation, which is expected to be finished by summer, said Scott Valentine, 38, director of the library since November 1999.

The renovation is needed to make room for four new computers that will be available for public use, Valentine said. Only one computer is on line now and patrons often line up waiting to use it, he said. The single computer is used about 300 times in an average month, he said.

With four computers, there will be no waiting. "It should increase use of the library," he said.

The Franklin County Library System is providing the four computers for Waynesboro, he said. They were paid for by grants provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The new computer bank will occupy space that until March held the front desks on the right of the front door. The desks have been moved to newly refurbished space to the left of the front door. The library's collection of 1,700 videos and fiction section used to occupy that space.

The 8,800-square-foot first floor will get new carpeting and new paint, Valentine said.

The second floor holds the science fiction, western, mysteries and teen collections, said Carla Crouse, Valentine's assistant.

The second floor also is home to the library's Civil War collection and a collection of local photos amassed by Bob Ringer.

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