WYOMING — It was on Aug. 8, 1927 that the Wyoming Free Library was founded. So, on Aug. 8, 2017, the library’s 90th birthday was celebrated.
Members of the community, the library’s board of trustees, its staff and other volunteers gathered to celebrate the milestone by honoring those who shaped the library into what it is today.
Colleen Garrison, president of the Wyoming Free Library’s Board of Trustees, was thrilled by the turnout, particularly because of the various generations of people in attendance.
“I love the turnout and I’m very, very pleased with the event,” Garrison said. “We know that people of all generations still use the library. They come every single day and we have a lot of home-schooled children who use the library that come here with their parents. It’s very multi-generational.”
After one of the library’s board members read a proclamation frm PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s office, proclamations were read by representatives from the offices of State Rep. Aaron Kaufer and State Sen. John Yudichak.
Garrison wasted little time in honoring the other trustee members, the library staff and volunteer Brigida Anthony.
The 90-year-old Wyoming resident was born the same year as the library, and moved to the area with her husband, who grew up in the borough, after they retired from working in Washington D.C.
Anthony has been a volunteer for over 20 years and said she wanted to remain active after retirement.
“I had been involved with doing volunteer work at the library in Arlington (Virginia) that was closest to where we lived,” she said. “So, I wanted to continue that; I’ve always enjoyed a library. I became a library member when I was 6 years old and it’s just part of my life. I just love libraries.”
Since being a volunteer, Anthony helped started the library’s Women’s Club which sponsored various book sales, was responsible for getting the children’s room repainted, and various other achievements.
Anthony gave high praise to the library’s staff, particularly its director John Roberts, for the various programs offered children.
“I think it’s fantastic what John has done with the programs for the children,” she said. “It used to be very laid back, but they’ve really opened it up. When the children come, they love it.”
During the ceremony, members of the Wyoming Area Catholic Builders Club unveiled a Giving Box they made that currently sits on the front lawn of the library.
The box is made from a donated newspaper stand and was sanded and painted by the builders club. It’ll be used to put seasonal items in it for the taking, such as sunscreen in the summer and scarves in the winter.
According to Jacki Kasa, advisor of the Wyoming Area Kiwanis Club that sponsors the Builders Club, the Giving Box was an idea from her daughter, Maya.
“They were originally going to do an outdoor library book box, but the more the club looked into it, the more they kind of felt like they wanted to do more for the community than just books,” Jacki said. “So, they started researching and came up with the idea of the Giving Box. They were doing to build it, but did more research and found out that an old newspaper box would be more sturdy.”
The box is open for anyone to take or drop off items, as needed, and Jacki said it will be checked on during a regular basis by students in the Builders Club.
After a year of planning, Garrison was pleased with the outcome of the 90th anniversary celebration and is looking forward to the next one.
“We’re looking forward to the 100th,” she said.
Founded on Aug. 8, 1927, the Wyoming Free Library was started by members of the Wyoming Women’s Club after taking notice of how many children’s books they sold during their annual sales.
The group teamed with the Wyoming Rotary Club and the Businessmen’s Association to raise money toward the project.
The house in which the library was originally located was donated by Mrs. Kate Pettebone Dickson and was situated next to the Methodist Episcopal Church on Wyoming Avenue.
The money raised by the three groups purchased books and shelves.
In the early 1960s, the Wyoming Women’s Group disbanded and the Wyoming Free Library formed its board of trustees, which still oversees all activities today.
The current building opened in 1965.