Preserving local history has been a goal of the Peters Township Public Library since its founding over 60 years ago. To go beyond clipping newspapers, in early 2003 the library staff began an Oral History Project with funding from Taste of the Township. The goal was to record and preserve the history of the township through audio interviews with past and present residents.
The library worked with the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center Oral History Service Department to conduct the interviews. By April 2004, the collaboration had produced twenty-two interviews. They reflected various facets of the history of Peters Township – farm life, education, government, recreation, transportation, churches, and industry. Next, the interviews were transcribed, edited, printed, bound, and added to the library’s Local History collection. You can search the library catalog for “Life in Peters Township: an oral history project” and request any of the bound volumes to check out and enjoy.
In the spring of 2008, a two-story addition expanded the building with space for a Local History Room on the second floor. Over the past 12 years, the room has acquired copies of the bound oral history interviews and many photographs and documents received from various donors. Along with several volunteers, Head Reference Librarian Margaret Deitzer and Information Technology Librarian Ed Wolf continue preserving the donations that tell the story of the township from the late 1700s to present.
Last year The Peters Township Library Foundation committed to channeling contributions received from the Washington County Community Foundation’s Day of Giving toward the library’s local history efforts. This donation supported the ongoing work of library staff and archivist Carolyn Friedrich to make the collection searchable from anywhere in the world.
A recent donation from Edward and Janis Lybarger added extraordinary resources to the collections. The Lybarger family connection to the library began in the 1950s with his mother, Alberta Myers Lybarger. As president of the Women’s Club of Peters Township, her efforts helped to make the dream of a community library for the township become a reality. Their new donations cover topics like local schools, churches, civic organizations, businesses, and the development of the library through blueprints, photographs, newspapers, and artifacts. The library welcomes items like these to continue to document the past and present growth of Peters Township. Please call the library at 724.941.9430 for more information.
The Lybargers have also financially supported The Peters Township Library Foundation, which continues to support this archival work, covering the costs of making this collection accessible to the public. Is preserving Peters Township history important to you? The WCCF Day of Giving is Thursday, September 10, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Your online donation that day to The Peters Township Library Foundation continues to support our efforts to preserve, arrange, scan, digitize, and store our growing collection of Peters Township Local History. Your tax-deductible gift will also benefit programming and resources not covered by the library’s operating budget. AND you will help us become eligible for added support from the WCCF’s $100,000 bonus pool. For more information, visit the WCCF Day of Giving web site.