St. Thomas library moving to larger home this weekend

April 29, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

ST. THOMAS, Pa. - After 27 years in a church basement, the St. Thomas library will move to a new home atop the local fire hall Saturday.

The library will be open for business as usual on Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. at the old location. Volunteers will move the entire contents of the nearly 10,000-volume library Saturday, and the library will be open again on Monday, said Bernice Crouse, executive director of the Franklin County Library System.

"I've moved bigger libraries than that in that time frame," Crouse said.

The St. Thomas Fire Hall is across St. Thomas-Edenville Road from the church building that houses the library. Volunteers will move library furniture and materials in the backs of vans and pick-up trucks, Crouse said. The south entrance to the fire hall, which will be for the library's use, has an elevator to the spacious second floor.


The brightly lighted, newly carpeted and painted room seems cavernous compared to the cramped, 1,000-square-foot space in the church basement.

Almost half of the new area will be for children, said Joel Medvidovich, a librarian who divides his time between the Lilian S. Besore Library in Greencastle, Pa., and the St. Thomas branch. He pointed out where the circulation desk and computers will be.

"We are so excited," he said. "It won't be ideal when we open - we need more shelving - but it will be nice."

The new accommodations were paid for by a $150,000 grant over two years, and by the fire company.

"We've still got a ways to go" to raise funds, Crouse said.

"The fire company has spent a lot of time and money to accommodate us," she said.

The 2,300-square-foot space the library will occupy was formerly an unfinished, unused warehouse-type area, Medvidovich said.

Part-time library assistant Deanna Snider of St. Thomas said the new building will make a big difference in the summer programs for children.

For crafts, she used to set up a long table outside in the narrow space between the library and the road "and pray it didn't rain," she said.

While the old space was small and crowded with numerous bookshelves and magazines, newspapers, puzzles, puppets and other children's materials, it was a relatively busy library. Snider said that in March, 322 people borrowed 590 items and 90 adults and 24 children used the public-access computers.

The library is open 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Its hours will remain the same in the new location.

Crouse said the Richard Jones family of St. Thomas, the owner of the old building, was very generous to give the library an economical home for so long. The library had simply outgrown the space.

"We do need more space and handicap accessibility," she said.

Anyone interested in helping the library move its contents on Saturday may call Ricky Prado at 717-709-0282, ext. 216. Lunch will be provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

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