By Felicia A. Petro/Senior Reporter
SLIPPERY ROCK —
Slippery Rock Community Library has expanded its inventory – but is still in desperate need of more room. The library last November received a grant from Libri Foundation, said Jan Forrest, president of the Friends of Slippery Rock Community Library, at Tuesday’s borough council meeting.
“We provided $350 and the Libri Foundation doubles that, so $700,” she said.
It enabled the library – located next to the recreation center at the borough’s park – to purchase 63 children’s books from a list provided by Libri, totaling about $1,200 in costs, Forrest added.
“We’re always in need of new children’s books,” she said in a separate interview. “Because they are paperback, they wear out more frequently than the adult books...They have to be replaced constantly.”
“It’s wonderful ... I stayed late to catalog them because I wanted them in the collection so bad,” said librarian Karen Pierce.
It’s the second time the library received the Libri grant; the last time was three years ago, Forrest said, adding, “You can only apply every three years.”
Also new to the library are 21 graphic novels, which are similar to comic books because they have a lot of pictures, but the reading level is more advanced, she added. “They are very, very popular right now.”
A sponsor gave $240 for the library to purchase the graphic novels, Forrest said. The collection also received a donation of 70 audio books, Pierce added.
The library has 5,500 to 6,000 books total, split between picture books; juvenile and young adult fiction; and adult books.
Although the library is a small at 283 square feet, it packs a large punch, having seen 1,600 visitors between January and March of this year alone, Forrest said.
“That’s a lot of people. It says to me that a public library is desperately needed in Slippery Rock. It’s being used tremendously,” she said.
“It gets very, very tight here sometimes,” Pierce added.
The library, which is open four days a week, is looking for ways to expand its hours. “Right now we are funded strictly by donations and fundraising events.
We receive no state funding. We are too small,” Forrest said.
The library has raised $100,000 in money and 60,000 additional dollars in pledges for a library to be built at 330 E. Water St.
“We’re hoping to raise $400,000 above what we spent for the property (in August),” Forrest said. ‘
The property is ready to build as soon as the donations come in.
“We could do so much more for our community with a bigger space,” Pierce said.
For children, the library acts as a pre-school and kindergarten readiness program, since there isn’t enough room or resources in schools.
“Our librarians and parents fill in the gap there,” Pierce said.
The library is also a resource for people who don’t have the Internet or a printer. “Libraries have to be flexible,” she said.
It serves as a meeting space for book clubs, and a safe haven for kids to hang after school.
The library’s story time brings about 30 people, Pierce said. “We’re considering a second story time.”
Forrest spearheaded the opening of the library in June of 2005.
“Libraries have always been important to me,” said Forrest, who served on the board for the Butler County Traveling Library – or “ book mobile.”
But costs and frequency became a problem, and Forrest knew Slippery Rock needed its own library.
The Slippery Rock library takes part in the Butler County Federated Library System, so one card gets patrons into any county library.
And if the local library doesn’t have an item, staff can get it within a couple days through a courier system.
Forrest noted that the public library has programming and recreational reading that Bailey Library at Slippery Rock University doesn’t have, since it’s a research library for faculty and students.
Much of its traffic comes from the daycare center at the park, the elementary school next door and adults who use its computers or wireless Internet, Forrest noted.
“The library is a great equalizer,” Pierce said. “It’s a really nice place for the community to come together and learn about a lot of things.”
The Slippery Rock Community Library is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Saturday; and 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
For more information or to donate to the building project, call 724-738-9179 or visit www.slipperyrocklibrary.org
Published April 20, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.