Throwback: Library

May 1996 Cover; This cover of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY was underwritten by the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair. This is a picture of the Mystic Rock Golf Course at Nemacolin Woodlands, site of the 1996 CF Golf Classic and was taken by Fred Vuich

Throwback with TODAY


May 1996; page 60 & 61

Battle of Books

On Sunday, February 25, 85 residents gathered for a battle which took place in the Library Multi-purpose room. Twenty-five students from the Boyce Middle School fifth grade divided into five teams and answered questions taken from 15 books. The program consisted of six rounds of 15 questions each. High scores proved these students really read their books and were fully prepared for the contest.

Winners from the two teams with the highest scores were: Megan Bode, Mary Jane Clarke, Ann Krenzelok, Jennifer Kujava, Trina Pfanstiel, Katy Rosner, Peter Soung, Esther Tseng and Elizabeth Williams.

Each of the winners received gift certificates for the South Hills Village Mall.

Summer Reading Program

It will soon be summer and that means it is time for Summer Reading at the Library. Children of all ages can participate. Registration for all summer reading programs begins on June 1. The children can begin reporting on books June 17 and continue through August 24.

Our Read to Me Program is for the youngest children. In this program parents are asked to read twenty books to their children and to keep a record of the books and the titles. When the twenty are completed, the child receives a prize.

This year any child who is reading can participate in our Summer Reading Program, Patchwork Pennsylvania. Over the summer, the children will work on an individual patchwork quilt with each piece representing a book they have read. We will encourage the children to read as many books as they can. Prizes will be awarded to our top readers.

Teens between 12 and 18 are invited to participate in our teen summer reading program, Hot Times summer in the City. Beginning this summer, teens may read any young adult book in our collection. Each book read entitles the teen to one ticket for our Chinese auction for a chance to win prizes. Additional prizes will be awarded to top readers.

Quilting Class

Mariellen Schopp, a staff librarian who is also a professional quilter, taught a beginner's quilting course in March. Thirty-six students learned how to select colors and fabric and how to piece and quilt a quilt top. If you are interested in learning ho to quilt, this class will be offered again in the fall.

Internet and Electronic Databases are Here

As Electronic Information Network Station is now available in the Adult library, and more of these stations are to become available through the county to our patrons this summer. The Internet and two magazine databases - Infotrac, and EBSCO HOST can be accessed free of charge.

If you have a computer with a modem at home, you can access the Carnegie Library Catalog, the Three Rivers FreeNet, and the InfoTrac magazine database from your own home. If you have Internet access, you can reach Carnegie at

If you do not have Internet access, you can use your modem to dial into the Carnegie. The number is 622-6260. If you want to find Infotrac, choose Three Rivers FreeNet, then Use Subject Guide (Old Homepage), then Searching for Magazine and Journal Articles, then EIN Access to Magazine Databases, and finally IAC Infotrac Searchbank. Move from link to link using the right arrow. Login is: iac (lower case).

World War II Program

Our World War II group will meet in late spring. Watch for a publicized date. Many of our residents have very interesting personal experiences from the World War II years, and we are hoping to get some of you to relate those experiences for publication in future issues of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY.

From the Book Nook to the Internet: A Brief History of the Township Library

by Nancy Brown

Like children who grow up on the same street and remain friends for life, the Upper St. Clair Library and the Friends of the Library share a past - and a future.

Back in 1957, the Book Department of the USC Woman's Club collected $300 and 2,500 books to establish Upper St. Clair's first library. The club members and their families cleaned and painted three small rooms on the second floor of Mitchell's Corner Shopping Center. The library was called the Book Nook and it was truly a grass roots volunteer effort: Phyllis Heatwole catalogued all the books and other members took books home with them to apply a protective varnish to the covers. Some financial support came from membership fees, donations and an annual garden party hosted by the Woman's Club. The bulk of the funding though, was provided bu the Friends of the Library - which was also started in 1957 (See Article on page 71). The friends raised money for the Book Nook by holding card parties, selling calendars door to door throughout the Township and holding fundraisers at Little Lake Dinner Theatre.

In 1958, the Book Nook moved into the newly constructed Township Building, though it was still a private library.

In July of 1967, the Woman't Club turned over control of the Library to the Township.

In April of 1968, the first paid staff members were hired and the library moved into new and larger quarters. By moving day, however, much of the new shelving had yet to be installed and so 8,000 books were lined up, in order, on the floor. No one seemed to mind; circulation soared.

Vi Hutchinson served as Children's Librarian and never accepted a salary. Joan Hackett was Adult Librarian and Head Librarian and Rosemary Breen handled book processing. Phyllis Heatwole continued to catalog the books.

In 1970, Catherine Conley became the Director of the Library.

In 1985, the library officially became a department of the Township Municipal Government.

In 1986, Annette Kovic was hired as library director and the library was moved into the new library wing in August of 1987.

In 1988, the Friends became a tax-exempt corporation.

In 1993, Lois Hoop was appointed Library Director.

As the Friends prepare to support the library on its way into the next century, Internet and all, it's interesting to note that the beginnings of both of these organizations are so deeply interconnected. From three little rooms about a shopping center to today's spacious and bright library wing, from 2500 books to 72,285 books, 1,057 videos, 1,222 audio cassettes and 185 periodicals - a few constants remain: the willingness of the community to support a public library, and the unswerving devotion of the Friends, who for almost forty years have helped shape the library into the community asset that it is today.

Thanks to Rosalie Abrams who compiled the information used in this article.

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