Concerts, cookies and crafts are part of National Library Week

Customers at libraries in the Alle-Kiski Valley this week can buy a bag full of inexpensive books, build a stuffed bunny, listen to a teenage singing sensation and satisfy their taste buds with homemade cookies.

And maybe even consult a good book.

Libraries in Harrison, New Kensington, Leechburg, Plum and Fox Chapel, among others, will host standout programs to mark National Library Week.

“Libraries are places to connect with technology, and they also provide opportunities to connect with media, programs, ideas, and lessons — in addition to books,” said John Kristine, program specialist for adults at the Allegheny Valley Community Library in Harrison.

“Most importantly, libraries also connect communities to each other.”

Started in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association and observed nationwide each April to stimulate a love of reading.

At the Plum Borough Community Library, a used book sale is the big event planned to draw people to the site along Center-New Texas Road.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, visitors can fill a bag full of books for $10.

“Anything you can put in a brown paper bag or a plastic grocery bag is yours to take home,” said library manager Pam Calfo.

The book sale is an event that takes place twice a year and draws throngs of people to the library — which is what Library Week is all about, she said.

“We also have a variety of programs going on next week, and they’re all a way to get people inside the building and see what we’re offering,” Calfo said.

For elementary age children there will be chess lessons on Wednesdays; on Thursdays, students in grades five and up can help build a time capsule that will be opened in 2032; and budding bakers can take home cookie cutters and cake pans under a new loaner program.

A special concert by Burrell High School singer Elliana Koulouris is also scheduled for Wednesday. The freshman, gifted on piano, guitar and ukulele, will play an acoustic set.

Peoples Library, which has locations in New Kensington and Lower Burrell, will feature a new program during the week. The first Family Craft Hour will begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the New Kensington Library, 880 Barnes St., library manager David Hrivnak said.

The monthly schedule will alternate between New Kensington and the Lower Burrell branch at 3052 Wachter Ave., he said.

“We try to highlight things that are valuable and important every week,” Hrivnak said. “Public libraries play a very important role in our society. It’s good once a year when some focus and attention can be placed a little brighter on it.

“We try to keep these values, these beliefs and this importance in mind every day that we come to work and do our job. This is clearly very important to our audience, and we take what we do very seriously.

In Harrison, library leaders are celebrating the week with a special raffle, library-themed story times and other programs at the site along Broadview Boulevard.

The children’s librarian will read “Library Mouse” and “A Trip to the Library with Sesame Street” while offering related crafts. Guests will have the chance to win books with free raffle tickets available at reception.

The events will end on Thursday with a class on using the Libby app to borrow and download e-books and audiobooks. The course will take place face-to-face and on Zoom.

“Libby is very practical. You can search for a book on your phone to listen to or read on the go,” Kristine said. “It’s also good for traveling since you can borrow up to 20 documents on it.

“While I love having a good paper book in my hands, I’ve found that by using Libby, I can listen to an audiobook while working on something else and still enjoy it.”

At Fox Chapel’s Cooper-Siegel Community Library, patrons will be treated to homemade baked goods while turning the pages of their favorite reading material.

Executive director Jill McConnell said an interactive survey will also be offered so staff can learn how to make the site a better place to visit for all ages.

At the Leechburg Public Library, clerk Patti Klasnick said a schedule full of family-friendly programs will fill up every day.

“We have a preschool story hour on Tuesday and Friday, a Girl Scout scavenger hunt on Wednesday, and a bunny craft class on Thursday,” Klasnick said.

“We like to keep things interesting all the time, not just next week,” she said.

The library along Market Street outdoes itself with movie night on the third Thursday of every month. Disney’s “Encanto” is this month’s selection.

Last month, while watching “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” attendees made edible teacups out of cookies, ice cream cones and melted chocolate. A broken pretzel rounded the handle.

“We built a boat like the one they sail down the chocolate river in the factory,” Klasnick said with a laugh. “We go beyond. But that’s all for the sake of getting people interested in the library.

Murrysville Community Library along Sardis Road will mark the occasion with a clever competition called Bookface.

Entrants can select a book with an interesting cover and line up their face or body to look like it matches the photo on the book cover.

People can enter five times by emailing [email protected] by Friday, April 15.

Winners will receive a $25 gift card for Completely Booked. They will be announced on May 2.

At the Norwin Public Library, staff plan to promote National Library Week through a series of social media posts.

Director Diana Falk said each of the dozen staff members will post a picture of a book that represents their personality.

Falk chose “This is Happiness”, while the children’s librarian chose a book about Australia in anticipation of an upcoming trip overseas.

“It’s something to promote the variety of the collection and to let people know a bit more about us,” Falk said.

The library, along Caruthers Lane in Irwin, has over 80,000 items to serve customers. There are e-books, computers, genealogy research tools, and audio books.

“We want to make people aware through these publications that there are many ways the library can help people in addition to books,” she said.

During the week, customers can test themselves with a self-guided scavenger hunt throughout the site.

“They’ll find their first clue, and it will lead them to the next one, making multiple stops in different parts of the library,” Falk said. “It’s just another way to promote the diversity of everything we offer.”

Tawnya Panizzi is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tawnya at 724-226-7726, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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