Fund drive for Monroeville library elevator halfway to goal |

Fund drive for Monroeville library elevator halfway to goal

Joe Napsha
Joe Napsha | For The Tribune-Review
Nicole Henline, Monroeville Public Library director, opens the door to the existing lift that library officials want to replace with a new elevator.

After a successful month of fundraising in September, the Monroeville Public Library has reached slightly more than half of the $35,000 goal that library officials set for private donations in its multifaceted effort to raise $200,000 for a new elevator in the facility.

“We’re very happy with the response. We’ve been at it one month and we’ve made half” of the goal for private donations, said Nicole Henline, library director.

“We’re looking forward to continuing the fundraising,” Henline said.

The library raised $17,914 in its first month of its “Lift Off — Donate to Elevate” campaign through donations from patrons and two fundraising events, Henline said.

A Trivia Challenge raised $950 and $260 was raised from diners at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Monroeville on Sept. 15 who told their serversos they were eating to support the library. The restaurant donated 20 percent of the customers’ bills to the library.

Some donations came from original founders of the library about 51 years ago, Henline said.

“While this is all very encouraging, we still have a ways to go to reach our final goal during the month of October,” said Debbie Iszauk, vice president of the library board.

The library also expects to receive a pro-rated share of the $125,000 matching pledge from the Jack Buncher Foundation of Pittsburgh, offered to all of the county’s 46 public libraries in conjunction with the Allegheny County Library Association and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Henline said.

It is not certain how much money the Monroeville library will receive because the $125,000 will be shared by other libraries. Libraries will receive up to a maximum of $500 per donor from the Buncher Foundation for donations made in September, she explained.

The tally for September’s Love Your Library fundraising campaign, which was sponsored by the county library association, has not been completed, said Marilyn Jenkins, the association’s executive director.

Besides private donations, The Friends of the Monroeville Public Library will provide $25,000 for the new elevator and another $40,000 has been set aside by the library.

A key component of the elevator project is obtaining a $100,000 grant from the state’s Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Grant program, Henline said. That grant requires matching funds to be provided by the library, thus the need to raise $100,000 from local sources.

Monroeville Council on Sept. 13 approved the municipality applying for the Keystone grant. Henline said she anticipates learning by the end of the year whether the application is approved.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” Henline said. “We think we have a pretty good chance because it’s for (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements,” Henline said.

Casey Smith, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, which oversees Keystone grant applications for libraries, said applicants are kept in the loop about the process and award and rejection announcements. Notification letters are to be sent to applicants the week of Feb. 13, according to the website for the public libraries grant program. Projects may begin after state approval of bid specifications next spring.

The plans for the new elevator, Henline said, have elicited “a lot of positive response” for a library that is among the top five in the county system in number of card holders and ninth in materials circulated from its collection of 237,540 items.

“We’ve needed it for a long time,” Henline said.

The elevator would replace a hydraulic lift in the corner of the 23,660-square-foot building that takes patrons from the basement to the ground floor in a brick-enclosed shaft. The open-air hydraulic lift, with 4-foot-high metal sides, is designed for a person in a wheelchair or for one person, Henline said. It was built in the mid-1980s, so the library’s two floors have been handicapped-accessible, Henline said.

The new elevator would require onstruction of a new shaft, she said. The $200,000 estimated cost was provided by an architect, Henline said.

The existing lift is not used too often, Henline said, but she expects more people would use an elevator if it were available.

The existing lift is “not too comfortable … and takes a long time,” about two minutes, to move between the two floors, Henline said.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or [email protected].

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