spl1999By Board Member, Sarah Heres

Our community has always enjoyed a unique relationship between the local library and the school district. The Sewickley Public Library of the Quaker Valley School District evolved forty-three years after our beautiful library building was dedicated. In 1923, Mr. William L. Clause donated, in memory of his wife Elizabeth Ann, the original library to serve the people of the entire valley. “In presenting this library, it is my desire that it should be the property of the entire valley, yet under the existing conditions, there is no way this can be done, as there is no way the matter can be handled except to deed it to the School District of the borough of Sewickley. Of course if the boroughs ever become consolidated, or it the school districts are ever consolidated, that would solve this problem,” stated Mr. Clause. His generous gift provided the original building at 500 Thorn Street. Prior to Mr. Clause’s gift the library used a variety of rented spaces in the Sewickley
borough.

For many years local financial support for the library came from the Sewickley, Edgeworth and Osborne boroughs. In 1956, a new regional school
district, the Quaker Valley School District, was established to serve the educational needs of students from eleven local boroughs. Ten years later, the new school district became the single taxing body which Mr. Clause had desired to provide local funding to the library. The school district provides close to 50% of the income revenue for SPL and three members from the QVSD school board serve on the library board.

The relationship between the school district and the library goes beyond the financial tax structure as both entities share a mission to support lifelong learners. Numerous library programs provide continuing education opportunities to our adult community. At the student level, collaboration between school librarians and their counterparts at Sewickley Public Library bring many programs to our community such as Battle of the Books, Summer Reading Programs, and hosting guest speakers.

The Sewickley Public Library is one of only two in Pennsylvania that receives its local funding from the school district instead of local municipalities. We are certain that the school district and Sewickley Public Library will continue to work cooperatively on behalf of our lifelong learners throughout the Quaker Valley area.