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Library to celebrate 40th anniversary

October 21, 2003|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

An antique grandfather clock, a bright farm mural and a glass display case of small model airplanes all are equally at home among the books and periodicals in the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library in Greencastle.

The well-lighted, open library at 305 E. Baltimore St. has been drawing patrons of all ages for 40 years.

The building opened its doors on Oct. 12, 1963, and the official dedication took place on Dec. 12, 1963. Additions were dedicated in June 1972 and July 1990.

Lilian Besore was a longtime school teacher in Greencastle. Her son, Calvin Jefferson Besore, became a lawyer in Montgomery County, Pa. When he died in 1958, he left a sizable bequest to build a library in Greencastle as a memorial to his mother. The Besore Trust covers the physical facilities, according to library Director Joel Medvidovich, but is not used for purchasing library materials.

While most of the collection is housed in the L-shaped main building, two downstairs areas are open to the public.

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One is used for puppet shows, story time, crafts, book discussion groups and meetings of nonprofit associations.

The other contains the local history collection, which includes back issues of the Echo Pilot newspaper, vertical files of clippings of local interest, Old Home Week memorabilia, an 1853 map of Greencastle and panoramic photos of attendees at every Old Home Week held in Greencastle.

The library displays three special collections in its main room:

  • A Scouting corner features all the merit badge books for Boy Scouts, compiled by local Scout Patrick Jansen as his Eagle Scout project.

  • The Easter Seals collection has books helpful to those with special needs.

  • Home-schooling materials recently were purchased with a $4,000 state grant. "These are teaching aids and tools for parents to use with their kids. There's a lot of math and reading materials," Medvidovich said.


Four new computers from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are popular with patrons, Medvidovich said.

Medvidovich supervises the day-to-day operation of the library, purchasing books and overseeing the staff of three full-time and two part-time employees. Besore library is open six days a week. It now closes at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays instead of 8:30 p.m. in response to budget cuts.

All libraries in the Franklin County Library System, of which Besore is a part, recently have experienced funding cuts, Medvidovich said.

Bernice Crouse, executive director of the Franklin County Library System, said libraries receive state funding in January, March and July.

In July, the payment to the local system was cut by $105,000 to about half of what it usually receives.

For 2004, Crouse expects a cut in all three payments, for a loss of $415,000. To compensate, she said local libraries have reduced the hours they are open, cut staff hours, cut magazine subscriptions and reduced purchases of new materials such as books, CDs, DVDs, videos and tapes to 12 percent of the budget, the minimum allowable.

While there was an increase in revenue from the county library tax, Crouse said, and the system has cut about $75,000 from expenses since July, the system still is $20,000 to $30,000 short.

"We're hoping there will be supplemental funding from the state," she said. "There is bipartisan support for restoring library funding.

"Some library systems, such as Philadelphia, have had to close branches. We don't want to do that," Crouse said.

"We provide as much service as possible for the funds we are getting," she added. "We're here to serve the public."

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