BridgePoint Church in Taranto opens children’s library


Eight-year-old Ayden Sanders didn’t have to look far to find a book that suited her.

He chooses several of the hundreds that now line the basement walls of Bridge Point Church in Taranto and plopped down at a pint-sized table to read.

“I love it here,” Ayden said. “It’s nice and cool, and there’s a lot to do.”

The church’s children’s library along East Ninth Avenue opened in June. It fills a void left by the closure of the Allegheny Valley Community Library branch along Lock Street, which closed during the pandemic.

“Since they closed, we wanted the children to still have access to the books,” said church volunteer Janet Purdie.

The church received a $1,000 grant from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank that allowed leaders to purchase 80 percent of the Tarentum library’s children’s books.

The money also paid for the materials needed to build an elaborate flower-shaped library and compartments to place books in the adjoining social hall.

Highlands Primary School librarian Laurie Malcolm participated by donating duplicate books from the school, more than 150 in total. Harrison’s Girl Scout Troop 28807 helped label and categorize the selections.

“While we are still disappointed that we had to close our facility in Taranto, we are happy that our materials were able to remain in the community,” said Suzy Ruskin, Director of the Harrison Community Library. “We support all early childhood literacy efforts.”

Reverend Val Schubert said the library is a perfect fit with the church’s growing offerings. A reading camp is offered from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays to coincide with a free lunch meal.

About 15 elementary-age children show up regularly, and Schubert hopes to expand activities for teens and beyond.

Mum Heather Waters brings her children in each week and believes that once the news is out more children will benefit from the programmes.

“It’s kind of a hike to go to the heights for the library,” she said. “It’s great here. The church has a lot to offer children.

The basement social room is filled with life-size basketball games, chess and checkers, crafts and more.

Schubert said that once the library officially launches, she wants to offer other programs to attract children. Later this summer, there will be a book bag giveaway and other activities at Riverview Memorial Park.

Volunteer Ethel Hayden said it was wonderful to see local opportunities for children.

“They love the new library,” she says. “They’ll tell you all about their favorite characters, and some will even read to you.”

Children who attend summer reading camp can qualify for a special outing in August. Anyone who reads 20 or more books can join a Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium tour.

“It’s such a blessing from the generosity of people who want to help local kids,” Schubert said.

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

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