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The Slippery Rock Community Library has started a capital campaign to raise $400,000 for a new facility. The Friends of the Library have adopted rubber ducks as a mascot as they "get all their ducks in a row" for the new building, which will be constructed at 330 E. Water St., Slippery Rock.

It's the little library that could and hopefully will continue along the same path as its leaders plan for a new home.

"This is probably the smallest library in the state," said Jan Forrest, president of the Friends of the Slippery Rock Community Library.

The library has started its capital campaign to raise $400,000 to build a new facility on a three-quarter-acre lot the Friends bought Aug. 31 for $60,000 at 330 E. Water St. in the borough.

The library has come a long way and despite the size, continues to serve its purpose: providing books and programs for people who love to read and learn, Ms. Forrest said Wednesday as she stood surrounded by four walls packed with books.

"This originally was a covered porch," she said of the 283-square-foot room on the end of the recreation building at Slippery Rock Community Park.

The library got its start in 1980 in the basement of the park office and later moved to the covered porch, operating as a self-serve library.

Plans to move to a larger building fell through when the Friends couldn't find anything in their budget. The porch was enclosed in 2005 and the library has remained there ever since, the only funding coming from fundraisers and donations; the building is owned by the borough.

"In this economy, libraries are more important than ever," Ms. Forrest said of the resources they provide.

It's not the ideal location, especially since the library hosts multiple fundraisers, programs and book clubs that require large spaces.

"The sooner, the better. You can see we're bursting at the seams," she said.

They often have to take their activities to a facility outside the park or pay to rent a room in the recreation building, Ms. Forrest said.

"We are constantly fundraising," she said.

The heavy-duty metal shelves hold books from floor to ceiling, some out-of-reach, and there's one computer for patron use.

The two part-time staffers make do with available resources, like being part of the Butler County Federated Library System, which enables card-holders to borrow books from any library in the county and use the library at Slippery Rock University.

And librarian Karen Pierce has brightened up the space with a collection of rubber ducks scattered throughout the room, each one sporting a different outfit.

The rubber duck has become a mascot of sorts for the library as the Friends work "to get all their ducks in a row" for the new building, Ms. Pierce said. She encourages people to take fun photos of their rubber ducks to share on the library's website.

The capital campaign is in the early stages as the Friends work with an architect on preliminary designs and apply for grants for new construction and more children's books, Ms. Forrest said.

"Our next task is to raise the money to build," she said, adding they don't have a deadline in mind. "We appreciate every penny."

Library patrons are "delighted" about the new facility, which will hopefully have more computers, extended hours and measure 1,500 to 2,000-square-feet, she said.

Patrons are encouraged to fill out surveys available at the library that ask what they'd like to see in the new building, including any outdoor activities.

The library already has extra shelves, cabinets and desks being stored in the basement of the borough building and the Friends are keeping in mind the theme of this year's summer reading program: "Dream Big," Ms. Forrest said.

▪ Upcoming fundraisers and programs include: "Read to a Therapy Dog" from 11 a.m. to noon the first Saturday of the month at the library; Teddy Bear Tea from 2 to 4 p.m. at Slippery Rock United Methodist Church; community yard sale May 19 at the church; a golf scramble June 16; and the annual used book sale June 7 through 9 at the Slippery Rock fire hall.

Slippery Rock Community Library is located at 316 N. Main St., and is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Saturday and 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday. For more information about upcoming events, call the library at 724-738-9179, visit www.slipperyrocklibrary.com or find them on Facebook. Donations can be made out to: Slippery Rock Community Library, P.O. Box 25, Slippery Rock, PA 16057.

Published April 7, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

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