Fendrick Library to expand with a little help from its friends

Mercersburg community rallies to raise $760,000 for new addition

January 15, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Jane Tyson, Ron Snyder and Leslie Geiger, members of the Mercersburg Library Association Inc., review architectural drawings of the Fendrick Library's new wing, which is scheduled for completion in August.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

In a tale much like that of "The Little Engine that Could," the Fendrick Library will turn the page on the next chapter in its long history by unveiling a new community-funded wing.

It took six years, but with the attitude of "I think I can," the Mercersburg Library Association spearheaded a fundraising effort to rally community support for the almost 50-year-old Fendrick Library at 20 N. Main St.

The roots of the community library go back to 1913, when the Mercersburg Women's Club established a free library in town — at a different location.

Despite tough economic times, library association treasurer Ron Snyder said the community opened its wallet to help the library with the addition.

In 2002, the library received $120,000 from the Mercersburg Area Development Corporation to be used as seed money and matching funds.

The initial goal was to raise $500,000 for the new addition and another $250,000 for the library endowment.

As building costs increased, Snyder said the cost rose to $650,000 for the wing.

"We raised $760,000, so we have an excess of $110,000. So we're not going to incur any debt," Snyder said.

The $110,000 will be placed in the library's endowment fund and used to furnish the new wing.

Snyder said the library needed an addition because it was running out of room.

"Our children's program has been growing and growing, and our book collection got to a point where to add any new books, we had to get rid of old books. It was just full," Snyder said.

He said they also wanted to add a computer facility.

The library currently has one computer with Internet access, but the addition will house four computers.

The new wing will nearly double the size of the current two-story Revolutionary-era building.

"Since the beginning, the library has been growing and expanding and this addition is just one more step in that process to provide better facilities, reading rooms and space for the children and their activities as well as teenagers and adults," said Jean Woods, a library association member.

The new wing, slated for completion in August, will add 3,643 square feet to the Fendrick Library.

Leslie Geiger, a library association member, said plans include:


  • To catalog and scan the library's historical and genealogical material and posting descriptions of the library's collection on its website.
  • To create a suite of rooms dedicated to archiving, sorting and scanning the library's extensive historical collection and provide space to display artifacts.
  • To add 350 linear feet of shelving.
  • To provide a computer center for community use.
  • To create an automated card catalog system to replace the paper system.
  • To increase the size of the children's library.
  • To create a young people's reading area.

"We are very fortunate to be supported strongly by the citizens of Mercersburg. There are a lot of other things going on right now to donate to like the high school sports facilities. But I think people around here just recognize what's important and give and they give where they think they can," Snyder said.

"I think the community realized how invaluable libraries are and that's why they wanted to support this project," Woods said.

The one-story, stone-and-stucco addition will complement the historic integrity of the Fendrick Library, Snyder said.

Jane Tyson, secretary of the Mercersburg Library Association, said the library is the hub of the community.

"It's a central place for the community. We have meetings here. A book club meets regularly and we are centrally located," Tyson said.

Ground breaking took place in December and while the cold weather has stopped construction temporarily, Rockwell Construction of Mercersburg will be back on the job as soon as weather permits.

Snyder said the addition is on schedule for completion in August.

While the building is paid for, Snyder said fundraising still is in progress.

"We still need endowments to maintain the Fendrick Library and to buy books, bookshelves and computers," he said.

The library depends mainly on community support, but receives eight-tenths of a mill from Mercersburg Borough, which equates to approximately $11,000 annually.

Community members also can help the library raise funds through 10 naming opportunities from $15,000 for the librarian's office to $30,000 for the main reading room.

Library information

For more information on the Fendrick Library, call 717-328-9233 or go to

The library's hours are Monday from 2:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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