PITTSTON – Supporters of the Pittston Memorial Library gathered April 14 at Cooper’s Waterfront for the 13th annual Jean Yates award dinner, honoring longtime volunteer Barbara Quinn.
Quinn, who began her volunteer service to the library in 2004 as a member of the board of directors, held the position of president for 13 years until October.
She approached the podium with grace and humor following introductions by Howard Grossman, fundraising coordinator, and Lois Ostrowski, board president, and thunderous applause.
“Wow, that sounds like I should be on the short list for canonization (to be deemed a saint),” she said, laughing.
Nearly a dozen members of Quinn’s family were among attendees of the event, quick to share memories of her as both an avid reader and a doting grandmother.
Granddaughter Samantha Quinn, 13, said her grandmother was one of the first people who encouraged her to read.
“Right now, I’m reading ‘The Giver,’” she said.
Jake Koretz, Quinn’s step grandson, said, although he doesn’t like to read, he has many good memories with her.
“When I think of her, I think of family dinners every Sunday,” he said.
Maria Capolarella-Montante, president of the Friends of the Library, said Quinn was instrumental in making the library’s children’s wing and community room a reality.
She said both those areas of the library provide a marked increase in the services the library offers and provide settings in which friendships are made.
Capolarella-Montante also credited Jean Yates, whose name the award bears, with making the library a reality early on.
“First, it was on the second floor of city hall, then in the basement,” she said. “Her donation made it possible for the library to be established in its current location.”
Attendee Mike Butera and many others took time out of their night to emphasize the value of books and of reading.
A local attorney, Butera said he usually “had two books going at one time,” always non-fiction, unless it was a classic.
And, although the library provides access to computers and other technology, Butera admitted he doesn’t even own a Kindle.
“I like being able to carry a book in my hand,” he said.
Both attendees and presenters detailed the use of the library that encompasses fun and learning for adults and children.
Crocheting, socializing, accessing computers and much more have all become part of the fabric of the library, beyond simply borrowing books.
“This year’s scarecrow festival, for example, ” said Ostrowski, “was standing room only.”
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