If you live in or around the Tarentum area, you may have noticed “Little Libraries” popping up around town, even by Central Church! These colorful libraries are made from donated, recycled materials and encourage the public to read new stories and engage with the community. “Borrow, Read, Grow,” the libraries read, and they house many types of books from children’s stories to young adult novels in genres from fantasy to religious nonfiction. Carrie Fox, a member of the Tarentum Borough Council, keeps the Little Libraries stocked at all times and calls the initiative “a fantastic project full of community pride.”
The Little Libraries that you see now are the result of many interwoven community partnerships. The idea was brought to the Tarentum Borough by Heather Bigney, the former principal of Highlands Early Childhood Center. Following discussions, a committee of council members was designed to help the Little Libraries blossom, and now there are nine libraries in the surrounding area. Students from Forbes Road Career and Technology School in Monroeville began the construction of the libraries, but other groups were eager to take initiative as well such as Girl Scout Troop 28807. The leader of the troop recently approached the Tarentum Council inquiring about a good place to put their hand-painted Little Library repurposed from an old newspaper holder, and Central Presbyterian Church was the first suggestion.
CPC partnering with the local Girl Scouts was apt, for, as some may not know, the church was once home to Tarentum’s very first Girl Scout Troop! Ruth Lentz, a member of CPC began the first Tarentum troop in the 1940’s, and her daughter, Marsha Lokar, recalls the time with fondness.
“The Girl Scouts were so important, and my mother just loved them,” Marsha says. “She was the Neighborhood Chairman for Scouting for sixteen years.” Ruth built her troop from scratch, and her plan to create a group in which girls could grow and support one another was carried out with help from community partnerships, such as that with CPC.
Marsha herself worked at Red Wing Scout Camp before becoming an assistant troop leader and later a teacher. She made a point to emphasize the dire importance of Girl Scouts and community building, for towns always benefit from initiatives that encourage unity.
In working with the Girl Scouts, Ruth and Marsha took dire steps towards uniting and their communities. Now more than ever, Tarentum needs action, things that elevate and enliven the town. Groups like the Girl Scouts, the Borough, and you here at Central Presbyterian Church have the power to facilitate that positive change – something as small as a Little Library can have a huge impact.
Below are the locations of all Little Libraries in Tarentum, Brackenridge, and Harrison Township. If you ever in need of a new read, consider browsing their selections!
· West Ninth Ave and Center Street
· Near the gazebo in the Tarentum Park
· East Ninth and Corbet Street /Bridgepoint Church
· Central Presbyterian Church
· Brackenridge Park
· Salvation Army
· Sheldon Park
· Village Green Apartments
· Natrona Pond Street