ZELIENOPLE — The Zelienople Area Public Library is celebrating 100 years, and to commemorate a century of support from the community, a parade was in order.
Twenty-seven vehicles, from antique cars and motorcycles to fire trucks and pickup trucks, began the procession at 3 p.m. Saturday on West New Castle Street and snaked their way through the borough before the parade concluded at the Harmony Moose Lodge just after 4 p.m.
Along the way, residents cheered from their porches. Many children waved copies of their favorite book.
“This has been in the works for six weeks,” said library director Maggie Boylan. “The Zelienople Rotary helped in the planning and many of the drivers of the vehicles were Rotarians.
“It was a good turnout.”
Officially, the parade was planned to thank the residents of not only Zelienople and Harmony, but also those living in Jackson and Lancaster townships.
Boylan explained that the original library was inside the old Zelienople High School on the site of the current Maple Court Apartments on South High Street, just north of the present library, which opened in 1975.
“The Zelienople Women's Club started the library,” she said. “At the time, it contained just 74 books.”
Times have certainly changed. The library now has more than 40,000 materials, from books to audio and video tapes, periodicals, software and DVDs.
“You used to have to rent the DVDs, but now they're free to check out as long as you have a library card,” said Zelienople resident Joanna Hersick, who awaited the parade with her 13-year-old son, James, on a bench outside the library.
“We started the 100-book challenge and the goal was to read that many from February through December,” Hersick added, “but that's been slowed by the virus. We're up to 54, but are reading bigger books.”
A safe place
“They've made things really safe inside,” Hersick said. “There's Plexiglass around the service area.”
The library was closed from mid-March to June 22 due to COVID-19.
“We used to go to story time once a week and really liked doing that, then did it a few times virtually,” said Amanda Dietrich, whose 3-year-old daughter, Harper, sat on her front porch for the parade.
Harper said her favorite book is “Hilda the Hippo.”
While this year has been challenging to patrons of public institutions, the importance of the Zelienople library to its community is clear.
“We use it a lot,” Hersick said. “We love our library!”
A second event to celebrate the library's 100 years will be a puppet show, scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Mussig Shelter in Zelienople Community Park.