Celebrate with Us!
The people of Sewickley Borough recognized the need for a community library nearly 20 years before Andrew Carnegie began gifting libraries to local neighborhoods, making Sewickley Public Library the oldest library in Allegheny County. In 1873, the shenanigans of some young men in a whiskey boat on the banks of the Ohio prompted community leaders to think they needed “a place for more rational amusement and self-improvement.” The Young Men’s Library Association was formed and rented rooms at various locations within the village until the current building at the corner of Broad and Thorn was constructed in 1923 when a gift of $50,000 by Mr. W. L. Clause, then president of Pittsburgh Plate Glass, made the construction of a permanent library building a reality. In a beautiful coincidence, this year also marks its 100th anniversary.
Today, the library remains an asset to the Quaker Valley School District, and a centerpiece of community connection, providing lifelong learning opportunities to patrons of all ages. It employs more than 40 staff members who are dedicated to providing access to a world of ideas and imagination through its educational resources, enrichment programs, and welcoming environment that invites more than 100,000 visitors each year.
We’ll be celebrating with special events all throughout the year beginning on February 7th, the exact date of our founding 150 years ago, when we unveil an exhibit of SPL History in our display cases, a merch shop where you can find some SPL swag, and some fun giveaways for patrons who visit us that day.
We look forward to celebrating this momentous year together with our donors, patrons, funders, and library family in our historic building where we have provided Great Stories Since 1873.
2023 Special Events
History Night at the Library
Wednesday, November 15 | 7:00pm
Take a step back in time in our 1923 building and join us for a panel discussion with special library guests discussing the history of Sewickley Public Library in its 150th year of service.
Refreshments to follow. Please register.
150th Anniversary Campaign
Sewickley Public Library belongs to us all, a shared community asset, that requires continued love and care to ensure its presence in the lives of neighbors, friends, and loved ones for generations to come. In recognition of the visionary leadership that has made our library possible, our board of directors has created the 150th Anniversary Campaign. The gifts we make to the library this year are a testament to the value we find in its storied history, creating a partnership between us and the community members of our past who gifted us with this beautiful library. Please consider helping to write an extraordinary chapter of that history in 2023 with a gift of your own. Campaign brochures and giving envelopes can be found at the library circulation desks, or make your gift online.
Own a Piece of Sewickley Public Library History
The ten original windows from the 1923 section of our building recently removed during renovations will be auctioned by sealed bid with proceeds to benefit the library. Each window measures 74” wide by 39” tall and weighs approximately 50 pounds. They make great art or landscaping pieces, and a talented carpenter could create a table by placing two back to back and adding legs. The possibilities are endless.
All windows have been sold to generous donors. Thank you!
Preservation of our Historic 1923 Building
In 2022, Sewickley Public Library was awarded a grant from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education to conduct preservation work on our original library building to include a new Spanish tile roof and the replacement of ten original windows, as well as the replacement of the air conditioning system for the entire library. As construction progresses, we will post updates here. Matching funds for this grant were largely provided by The Raymond C. and Martha S. Suckling Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, as well as other individual major gifts.
Construction Project Updates
A/C Unit Installation & Library Closures
The last phase of our construction project – replacing our air-conditioning units – has begun.
Beginning Monday, September 11, the current roof-top units will be disconnected and the library will be without central air-conditioning. Although we have additional spot coolers set up around the library, temperatures in the building may be higher than usual.
The current roof-top units will be removed later in the week which will cause temporary closures.
- Thurs, Sept 14: Library Parking Lot Closed all day (no book drop access)
- Fri, Sept 15: LIBRARY CLOSED (no parking lot or book drop access)
Additionally, our Children’s Department has reopened. Library users may visit the department on the second floor during regular operating hours.
Any additional information regarding this work will be posted here on our website. (Update 9/7/23)
Library Patio Reopens
We are thrilled to announce that the library patio is back open & ready for visitors! Enjoy this newly refreshed outdoor space all year long.
In the News
Read about the next phase in the library’s renovation project in the Sewickley Herald.
Parking Lot Open
Library visitors may now park in the library parking lot at your own risk. Areas of the parking lot are still being used for construction purposes, but limited spaces, including accessible spaces, are once again open to library visitors.
At times, the lot may need to temporarily close for construction purposes. Signs will be posted if this occurs. Find the latest updates regarding the construction project on our website.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to improve our library building for years to come! (Update 7/24/23)
New Children’s Department Hours and Space
Starting Monday, July 24, the Children’s Department on the second floor will be open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Monday – Saturdays in order to provide greater predictability and reliability for all parents and caregivers.
After 1pm during regular library hours, we invite you to chill with us in the new children’s zone! This temporary pop-up “Chill”-dren’s area brings the best of the Children’s Department to a cooler space. The new kid’s area will be located off the lobby on the first floor. It will include new books, coloring sheets, craft takeaways (on scheduled days), summer reading prizes and friendly staff that can assist you in finding materials.
At times, the entire library may need to close early due to excessive heat in the building. If this happens, it will be posted on our website at sewickleylibrary.org, but if in doubt, please call 412-741-6920 before visiting. (Update 7/19/23)
We are now in a phase of construction that presents occasional challenges to our cooling systems on hot summer days; our Children’s Department is particularly susceptible to early closures. Updates will be provided here and on our social media channels; but if in doubt, please call 412-741-6920 before visiting. If it becomes necessary to close the Children’s Department, our librarians are still able to pull requested materials. (Updated 6/13/23)
Construction in Progress
Scaffolding is up and renovations are progressing on our beloved library. The aged Spanish-tiles have been removed from the original portion of the roof. Work is underway to prepare the roof for new tiles, including installation of a new membrane to protect the roof and wood framing to support the tile.
Parking update: General parking in the parking lot remains closed, but the two accessible parking spaces are approved for use. Please continue to use caution when parking in these spaces and when dropping off visitors or materials in the rear of the library. (Updated 5/23/23)
Our long-awaited project to replace part of our roof, ten of our historic windows, and the air conditioning system for the entire library is scheduled to begin May 1, 2023. This is a large-scale construction project that will cause some disruption to library programming and services.
The following information is subject to change; the latest updates will be posted to our website.
- Scaffolding will be installed around the exterior of the library on Monday, April 24.
- The library patio will be closed during the duration of construction.
- Weather permitting, roof demolition begins Monday, May 1. Some closures of library spaces are possible this first day of construction, most especially the reference department. Please call the library or check the library website before visiting for the latest updates.
- The reference department, including the computers, nonfiction collection, and audiobook collection, will be our most impacted service area. We intend to move our public computers to a more accessible area of the library; computer access and session times may be limited periodically. The library anticipates periodic closures of certain areas within the reference department as work continues.
- Beginning May 1, our parking lot will close for the duration of the project through September 30. We expect the book drop in the rear of the building to remain open with the exception of periodic closures for loading and unloading of construction materials.
- Beginning in June, we expect interruptions to our library services with possible reduced hours and restricted access when we may not have air conditioning in the building; our Children’s Department is particularly susceptible to these changes during days of hot temperatures. Updates are provided on our website and through our social media channels.
Construction updates and closure information can be found by visiting sewickleylibrary.org or by calling 412-741-6920; our librarians may be reached the same way to provide assistance and requested materials.
Thank you for your patience as we preserve our beautiful historic library and prepare it for its next 150 years of service. (Updated 4/21/23)
Construction materials have been ordered, and construction is set to begin in late spring. (Updated 1/4/23)
Public Bidding Process Complete
The Sewickley Public Library Board of Directors, in cooperation with Landau Building Company, has successfully completed a public bidding process to engage with the contractors who will perform the work for our Keystone Project. Their contracts are now being drawn up, reviewed and prepared for signature. Upon completion, construction materials will begin to be ordered. Our estimated commencement of the construction phase is currently predicted to be February of 2023. Stay tuned for updates as more information becomes available. (Updated 8/26/22)
Moving Forward with Restoration Undertaking
Please excuse our team of architects and engineers as they take measurements and make final plans to replace the roof of our 1923 building, ten historic windows, and air conditioning for the entire library. They are working in cooperation with Landau Building Company with whom we have contracted to manage the project. In the meantime, some updates are being made to our existing air conditioning units that we hope will keep us a little cooler this summer until the new units can be replaced. Thank you for your patience as we work through construction logistics and try to keep library service interruptions to a minimum. (Updated 5/24/2022)
This project is supported, in part, through a grant with the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Department of Education, with funds provided from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund.
Bookmark this page and check back for frequent updates about construction and 2023 anniversary celebration events.