By Board Member Gianni FloroGianni Floro, Board Member

“The long and historic relationship between the Sewickley Public Library and the Quaker Valley School District and its predecessors is a unique and important partnership in an emerging information-based society, the concept of a seamless learning community will grow ever more important. Life-long learning is a critical factor in community growth and development. It is a way to affect the quality of life for the young, the elderly and those in mid-life. By collaboratively using the resources of the Quaker Valley School District and the Sewickley Public Library, those resources will grow in a dynamic way and will have a significant and positive impact on the quality of life of all Quaker Valley residents.”

Preamble Support and Cooperation Agreement Sewickley Public Library – Quaker Valley School District May 11, 1998

In an effort to continue to develop and expand our community’s unique resource, the library received an addition and interior renovations, greatly expanding the core building constructed in 1923. Since then, the use of the library has grown and changed in ways that could not have been foreseen. Major growth has been seen in the use of the teen room, tutoring areas, and small meeting rooms, i.e., collaborative space. Core operations, such as cataloging and routing have been slowly spread throughout the building due to changes in technology and practices. Storage and filing needs have also become apparent, as staff struggles to deal with space constraints. The Friends of the Sewickley Public Library, whose volunteerism is critical to the continued success of the library’s mission, has also become an integral part of library operations.

teen area at sewickley public libraryIn order to address today’s needs and future considerations, the Board of Trustees has developed a Master Plan in association with Landau Construction and Pfaffman Architects. The plan was developed based the recommendations of the facilities committee, which included input from the public, workshop sessions with local architects and consultants who donated their time and insight to identify trends and developments in learning and education. Those stakeholders ultimately recommended reconfiguring the existing spaces within the existing walls to gain better space utilization, concluding it is the most cost effective way to address the immediate and future needs of the library.

In drafting this article, I reached out to my classmates, and one in particular said it best: “The library was a safe place for me to go after school, it was a place to focus on my studies and explore the world through books and magazines.”

Things have not changed so drastically since 1990 when we graduated from High School. I recall as a teen, meeting at the library, focusing on my studies and exploring the world through the library’s robust collection. Today we are blessed with teens increasing their utilization of the library. Through changes in their program of studies at our local schools, and with the move toward increasing collaborative studies, our aim to address these needs by relocating and expanding the teen area was paramount to our considerations. By reconfiguring and enhancing present spaces the plan calls for a significant increase in meeting space.

This reconfiguration also accounts for centralizing core operations. By centralizing those operations, and streamlining processes, we will be able to achieve greater gains in space for the Community Room and Friends of the Sewickley Public Library. The Children’s department is also planned to receive a new Craft Area and Story Room. These planned changes, within the existing building footprint, will bring the library in line with present trends in learning and education.