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Library spacing out over $20,000 grant

October 22, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

FORT LOUDON, Pa. - In the latest effort to merge the structure of a late 1800s train station with the needs of a 21st century library, the Fort Loudon Library will use a $20,000 grant to renovate a storage area into a room for children's activities.

"Half of the building was used for freight storage and that has been unchanged for over a hundred years probably," said Glen Sabetto, a library board member who helped write the grant application. "We needed more space."

The library opened the branch in the 1870s train station about 20 years ago, branch manager Gail Sacho said.

Sacho said contractors are submitting bids on the project, which she hopes to see completed next spring.

The renovated space will provide more room for the popular summer reading program and holiday crafts activities, Sacho said.

The library received the grant through the Community Revitalization Assistance Program and the help of state Rep. Patrick Fleagle, R-Franklin, who represented Peters Township at the time.

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Sabetto said she presented the proposal to Fleagle more than a year ago when he came to the library to view the renovations paid for with a $10,000 grant he had previously helped the library secure

The earlier grant paid to install a restroom, insulation in the walls, storm windows and carpeting, she said.

"For 18 years the building did not have a working restroom. There was no insulation, it was really primitive and the librarian had to work with her coat on in the winter," Sabetto said.

She said depending on how far they can stretch the $20,000 grant, the restroom door will be expanded to make it handicapped accessible and more insulation and shelves will be added.

But first and foremost, she said, is creating more usable space.

"This will double our space. We have six computers added this year from the (Bill and Melinda) Gates (Foundation) grant. When you start putting technology in a relatively small building, that takes up space," she said.

Sacho said the library's patronage has also increased with the improvements, making the need for additional space more crucial.

Even with all the changes to the interior, Sabetto said the Franklin County Library System has no plans to change the old railroad station's facade, and she hopes to eventually see the building added to the National Register.

The library, at 210 Mullen St. in Fort Loudon, is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

The Fort Loudon Library is not the only one in the Franklin County Library System undergoing some changes, consultant librarian Ricky Prado said.

The St. Thomas Library will move into the second floor of the St. Thomas Fire Hall during the first half of 2003, Prado said.

Renovations to the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Library in Waynesboro, Pa., are near completion, he said.

The library system's Web site has been redesigned at www.fclspa.org.

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