From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian
This year’s celebration of National Library Week begins Sunday. Of course, we call it just another week around here since we celebrate libraries year-round, but we want to share the love with everyone. And the theme, “There’s More to the Story,” speaks volumes (yes, pun intended) about a library’s role is in a community.
If you were to ask me what I like most about our library, I’d no doubt say it’s the egalitarian concept of a library serving all people, or the patrons I help daily, and, of course, the collection of books. But deep down, I know the one aspect I hold most dear is the actual library building.
There’s a lot of sentimentality tied into these walls. I’ve come to this building my entire life, a place that held magical books that transported me to other places and times. It seemed as sacred as the church building across the street, possibly more so since some of the librarians scared me more than Dr. Rising and I couldn’t sing in these hallowed halls (yeah, I still harbor bitterness over that). Once I began working here, I learned that it didn’t really function well as a library, especially as our role changed from book depository to community gathering place. But get rid of the building? Not a chance.
It took a lot of imagination (and effort) to get past the olive green carpet, orange curtains, and metal shelves/mezzanine, to see the classic bones in the historic Carnegie building and I’m not particularly gifted in that area. But others are and they were able to preseve those elements while adding on useable space that complemented the original building. And I’ve been so fortunate to work in the most beautiful office in the most striking building in the community.
Of course, there’s more to the story of how our not-quite-but-almost-ugly duckling of a library turned into a beautiful swan. I’m not sure the statute of limitations has passed for me to tell them all. But I can say without reservation that it wouldn’t have happened without the people of Pittsburg who voted to keep this building (thank you!) and the very talented firm of architects hired by the Library Board back in 1994 (thank you, too).
If you haven’t been in our beautiful building for some time, or if you just stopped in yesterday, next week would be the perfect time to visit. Walk around, soak in the ambiance, and (of course) check out a book or two. Become part of our library’s story.