Township officials try to call attention to library

By ERIC SLAGLE Daily News Staff Writer Does anyone in Forward Township know they have a library? Its a question Forward Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom DeRosa asked at the regular township meeting Thursday, and few people attending the meeting said they did. DeRosa asked the question, he said, because the township had recently been asked by Elizabeth Forward School District to help pay for the operation of the Carnegie Library of McKeesport's branch library at Central Elementary School in Elizabeth Township . According to DeRosa, the school district asked for help paying $10,000 to $12,000to cover costs of operating the library. I don't think Forward Township gets much benefit from it, DeRosa said.  I don't think many people in Forward Township use it. Forward Township resident Red Price said he and his family have used the library. I go there but not too often,  said Price, who added its good to have the library but not if it costs too much. According to Elizabeth



Forward Director Phil Martel, who was not at the meeting, the district has been paying $20,000 annually to keep the library which has a total budget of $52,000operating in the elementary school. He said the district did ask Forward and the other municipalities that comprise the school district Elizabeth and Elizabeth Township for help covering the cost of the library this year because of budget shortfalls in the district. Al three municipalities were asked for funds to cover $10,000 of the districts usual contribution. So far, he said, none of the municipalities has offered to contribute. Were just looking for a community effort, said Martel, who contends the library is used by residents in all three areas.   We're going to try to make it work one way or another. We'll figure something out if they don't want to do it. This would not be the first library in the area to falter. A shortfall in Allegheny Regional Asset District funds to Clairton Public Library nearly resulted in that library's closure last year. Samuel A. Weiss Public Library in Glassport did close after the Glassport Women's Club, which ran the library for years, could no longer fund it or find volunteers to keep that library open. At the meeting, DeRosa said he'd like to see use and circulation statistics at the Central branch to determine who is going to the facility. Depending on what those indicate, DeRosa said it would not be out of the question for the township to consider supporting the library. If the kids use it, its fine, he said.

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