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Penn State New Kensington staffers volunteer at Peoples Library

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Erica Dietz | For the Tribune-Review
Danielle DeStefano, foreground, Penn State New Kensington's assistant director of enrollment management, wipes a book with enrollment services specialist Corinne Coulson during Day of Caring at Peoples Library in New Kensington on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016.

Readers at Peoples Library in New Kensington will be pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness of their next book.

That “like-new” shine is courtesy of a team of Penn State New Kensington staffers who volunteered their time as part of the United Way's Day of Caring.

“It's important that we give back to the community around us,” said Corinne Coulson, an enrollment service specialist with PSNK and the leader of the Upper Burrell campus' volunteer efforts. “We participate in the Day of Giving every year and make sure we do something in the Alle-Kiski Valley.”

Coulson was joined by colleagues Danielle DeStefano, Kary Coleman and Jennifer Gilley.

The Day of Giving is the United Way's effort to get people to volunteer in their community.

According to Jackie Johns, community engagement manager for the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, 650 volunteers were expected to offer about 3,250 hours of service on Friday.

The organization estimates that the day will save local nonprofits about $75,000 in labor costs.

Wiping off another book, DeStefano, PSNK assistant director of enrollment management, said she was happy to volunteer, not only to give back, but because she's a frequent visitor to the library.

“I love the library,” she said as she took another book off the shelf. “It's such an important part of the community; I use it all the time. “I think it's important to give back to free public services we all use.”

Coleman, the campus' director of development and alumni relations, said she hoped that the volunteer outing lets people know that the campus has Alle-Kiski Valley pride.

“We're not just a school in the area, we're part of the area,” she said. “We're part of the community.”

Library director David Hrivnak said he was thrilled to have the extra hands.

“This isn't glamorous, but it's important,” Hrivnak said, donning his United Way T-shirt, among some of the 33,000 books that are housed in the library. “We rely so heavily on volunteers. We couldn't do what we do without volunteer support.”

One volunteer probably felt more at home on Friday than the others.

Gilley is PSNK's head librarian.

“I know how to clean a book,” she joked. “And I also know how to make sure it's put back in the right spot.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance reporter.

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