McKeesport Daily News December 31, 2007

Founded in 1960, Glassport’s library closes

By ERIC SLAGLE Daily News Staff Writer

Samuel A. Weiss Public Library in Glassport has checked out.

The library, which had been operated by the Glassport Women’s Club for years in the borough’s municipal building, officially closed its doors to the public on Dec. 17.

“We’re broken-hearted about it,” said Anne Dzurko, who has been the coordinator for the all-volunteer library for the last 30 years. She said the club made the decision to close the library, which was only open a few hours on Tuesday nights, because it couldn’t find volunteers to staff the facility. Many of the club’s members are elderly, she noted.

She also said a general lack of funding had led to the library’s decline over the passing years. “We couldn’t afford to buy any more books and we weren’t up to date,” she said.

Founded in 1960, the library retained a feeling of that earlier era with volunteers keeping track of materials and borrowers via an old-fashioned card catalog.

Dzurko said the club wants to set up a meeting with the Allegheny County Library System to see if the library can be saved, but members also are making arrangements in case it cannot.

The club has formed a committee to determine what to do with the library’s materials. Dzurko said library officials have contacted the McKeesport Heritage Center about donating the historically valuable materials such as records from old businesses and pieces of locally produced glassware. She said library officials also are looking to donate books to a local church and school.

The women’s club had hoped the borough would be able to help save the library, but it does not appear that is going to happen.

Glassport council President John DeSue said borough officials looked into the matter and determined “we couldn’t afford to pay somebody to run it.” DeSue said the borough met with county library officials about the local facility but they weren’t able to offer the help the borough needed. “They could advise us but they could not help financially,” DeSue said.

Noting that Glassport residents can obtain books by way of the Allegheny County Bookmobile, DeSue said council could not justify allocating funds to keep the old library operating.

The borough is considering placing the borough offices and council chambers in the part of the municipal building that had been used for the library. That arrangement hopefully would be on an interim basis, DeSue said. The borough ultimately wants to build a public safety building behind the current municipal building that would be home to the borough’s fire, police and administrative departments.

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