Learn All About the Uniontown Public Library
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Uniontown Public Library
The reference books and reading rooms are free to everyone.
Library membership is free of charge to all residents and property owners of the city of Uniontown.*
Proof of residence is required.
The non-resident fee as of January 1, 2002 is:
• Level 1 ~ $5.00 per month or $15 for the full year per family
This is the most basic membership level and allows Internet access to the holder.
Level 1 membership does not allow the holder borrowing privileges.
• Level 2 ~ $20.00 for six months or $35.00 per family for one year
This membership level gives the holder access to all services available at the Uniontown Public Library including Internet access and borrowing privileges.
The only place to register for library cards, paid or free, is at the front circulation desk on the first floor.
Duplicate library cards for other family members of non-residents are $1.00 each.
Lost library membership cards are $3.00 and take one day to process.
No card can be renewed or materials borrowed until overdue materials are returned and/or fines are paid.
Gift Certificates for either $20 (six-month membership) or $35 (one-year membership) are available at the main desk.
*The only municipality which contributes to the upkeep of the library is the city of Uniontown through an allocation of 1.58 mills of the real estate tax. For this reason, only residents and property owners of the city have free access to all Uniontown Public Library services.
In-House Computer Catalog
- The computer system only requires a basic knowledge of computers.
- Library material can be located either by subject, title or author.
- Please type your selection and strike the Enter key.
- The library updates the computer listings frequently.
- If you have difficulty finding a selection, please ask for help at the circulation desk.
Catalog Reference Symbols
The following symbols are used in the computer catalog; they are the first part of the call number. They will help you to locate materials.
Fiction in our Library is arranged alphabetically by author. These are the sub-collections within the fiction collection:
- Mystery - M
- Western - W
- Science Fiction - SF
- Short Story Collection - SC
- Oversized books - Q
- Young Adult- YA
The Pennsylvania Room's non-circulating collection is designated in one of three ways:
- Pennsylvania Room - PR
- Genealogy - RG
- Vertical Files - VERT
Children's Room categories are:
- Juvenile (children's) - J
- Juvenile reference - JR
- Stored behind the main desk - JX
- Oversized books - JQ
Nonfiction Books are categorized and arranged using the Dewey Decimal System, 001-999.999
Other designated categories within the collection are:
- Ready reference (non-circulating) - RX
- Reference desk (non-circulating)- R
- Stored behind main desk (circulates) - X
- Video collection (one-week circulation) - VC
- DVDs (one-week circulation)- DVD
- Audio collection - AL-C
- Large print collection (fiction & non-fiction) - LP
- Paperback books (all fiction) - PB
Online Library User's Information and Catalog
Access to the catalog requires the patron to enter their library membership barcode in the barcode box and the last four digits of his or her telephone number in the password box. It is strongly advised that the patron then change the password on the page called Patron Account.
To learn more about using the online catalog and circulation system, click here.
The Polaris Online Library Catalog and Circulation System can be accessed on the home page or by clicking below:
Fines and Fees
- Most circulating materials are checked out for a two-week period (14 days)
- Overdue fines are 20¢ per day, per book, including Sundays and holidays
- Books may be returned when the library is not open at the book drop on the side of the building facing Jefferson Street
- $1 each is assessed for a lost or intentionally damaged bar code from library materials
- New fiction books in the collection are first available as rental books for 15¢ per day, including Sundays and holidays, to be paid when the book is returned
- Photocopies are 15¢ per page*
- In-house microfilm copies are 50¢ per page* (Pennsylvania Room only)
- Computer printer pages are 15¢ each for black & white copies and 20¢ for color copies*
*Library provides paper
Membership gift certificates are available for either a 6-month ($20) or a one-year membership ($35) at the Uniontown Public Library. The certificates may be purchased at the main desk on the first floor of the library.
Library membership makes a great gift!
Directions to the Uniontown Public Library
The Uniontown Public LIbrary is located at 24 Jefferson Street, Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The parking lot situated behind the library building is free for patrons using the library. Metered parking is available in the city lot directly in front of the library.
From East Fayette Street, turn left onto Pennsylvania Avenue at the traffic light (Caleigh's Restaurant will be on your left at the light), then turn left onto Jefferson Street at the stop sign. After crossing the railroad tracks and small bridge just beyond St. John's Roman Catholic Church, turn left into the library parking lot behind the library.
From East Main Street, turn left onto Church Street. just past the railroad tracks. Travel one block and turn left onto Jefferson Street, then right into the library parking lot behind the library.
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Public Meeting Rooms
at the Uniontown Public Library
Meeting Room Rental Rates
$15 per hour per room
The Uniontown Public Library has three meeting rooms upstairs that can be opened into one or two larger rooms. One of these meeting rooms has a kitchenette equipped with a refrigerator, stove, sink and microwave/convection oven.
The Library makes the meeting rooms available for groups. There is a cost-recovery fee for all groups using these rooms. Use of the meeting rooms is subject to the policies listed below.
• Meeting Room requests and reservations must be made and confirmed in writing.
• Clubs meeting on a regular basis should make reservations at the beginning of the calendar year.
* Written requests must include the name and telephone number of a contact person who can be reached during business hours. The Library must be informed of changes or cancellations on the meeting schedule at least a week before the meeting.
• The contact person must notify the Library when a meeting is canceled due to emergency.
• Youth organizations cannot meet without several adult chaperones.
• Liquor may not be served at meetings scheduled in the Library.
• Organizations may not gamble in the Library meeting rooms.
• No nonprofit group may schedule a meeting space more than once per month.
• The building must be empty by 9:30 p.m.
• The Library will not be responsible for accidents or other untoward incidents.
• No smoking in this facility.
• The kitchen facility must be shared with any other groups meeting at the same time.
• The Library reserves discretionary rights regarding the use of the meeting rooms.
• The meeting rooms should be returned to the condition in which they were found.
• Any dishes used must be cleaned, any trash must be placed in the receptacles provided and furniture returned to its original position.
• Please DO NOT use tape or adhesive on the walls or furniture for any purpose.
• DO NOT enter the meeting rooms while other groups are using the rooms. If you have a question or complaint, address those issues to the staff and not the individual or group using the meeting room.
History of the Library by Water "Buzz" Storey
by Walter "Buzz" Storey
(with some revisions made in 7/2008)
Uniontown Public Library was officially launched under that name in 1928, but its small beginning actually dates back to 1912, when the Women's Civic League opened a reading room with the stated purpose of getting young boys off the streets.
The reading room was located in a small one-story building, measuring about 18 by 20 feet, at the corner of South Street and Beeson Avenue, owned by the school board.
It was equipped with one table, two chairs, some dominoes and checkers and 27 books! (Compare that to the 80,000 volumes in the library today.)
The reading room was operated entirely on a volunteer basis. Elizabeth Leonard took charge in 1914 and served for some 12 years thereafter. The number of books slowly increased under the impetus of an annual Book Donation Day.
When the small building was sold, the reading room moved temporarily to the YMCA at Main and Gallatin. Meanwhile, the book inventory had grown to 4,000.
Upon completion of the Central (Ella Peach) School in 1916, the board offered use of a large room there. By 1927, a number of factors combined to persuade the Civic League that it could no longer shoulder the responsibility alone. Miss Leonard's health made it impossible for her to continue in charge; the University of Pittsburgh wanted the schoolroom for its undergraduate center. In the meantime, some years previously, the city had declined the offer of a free Carnegie Library.
The Civic League invited representatives of other organizations to a meeting on June 2, 1927, at which the nonprofit Uniontown Library Association was formed. Uniontown businessman and historian McClellan Leonard (Elizabeth Leonard's brother) was elected chairman of the board.
The first, temporary board was composed of G. Shell Harah, Mrs. W.C. Hood, J. Fred Shean, I. Friedberg, Kathleen Howell, Margaret McHugh and Mrs. Frank Snider.
Chosen as the site of the first library was a vacant church building at the corner of Church and Beeson, near the school. This building was erected in 1894 as the First Methodist Protestant Church. After that congregation (now Christ Methodist) moved to Beeson and Fayette in 1925, the old building became for a time the Hungarian Reformed Church. (This is the present site of the Pittsburgh National Bank drive-in.)
Leonard had acquired the property and he offered it to the association for what it had cost him, $35,000. The money was raised through a fund drive and a mortgage loan, and the city allocated the proceeds from half-mill of the real estate tax to the library.
The interior of the church was renovated and the new library was opened to the public on Dec. 15, 1928. There were 14,000 books on the shelves, between 8,000 and 9,000 of them donated by the Civic League.
Miss Ocie Anderson was named as the first of six paid librarians who have had the Uniontown Public Library in their charge.
The first formal meeting of the Library Association was held on Jan. 1, 1930, and Mr. Leonard was continued in office, a position that he held until his death in the mid-30's.
As the years went by, various improvements were made, including a memorial book program. By 1938, the book inventory had risen to 30,000.
As early as the 1940's it was becoming obvious that the library had outgrown its quarters and the association was considering the possibility of acquiring a new and larger building.
Uniontown's first postwar urban renewal project was launched in 1955 by the Fayette County Redevelopment Authority. Aimed at removing blight, it included the Jefferson-Iowa-East Church Street area. The library eventually found its new home there, at the lower end of Jefferson Street and extending back to Iowa Street.
The Redevelopment Authority sold the 66,791.02 square foot plot to the library association on Sept. 21, 1965, for $17,500. The association sold the library's building and assets to the city on Sept. 6, 1966 and a board of directors appointed by the mayor and council took over operation and maintenance. The nonprofit volunteer community support continued with a new auxiliary, The Friends of the Uniontown Public Library.
Bids for construction of the new library building were opened in March 1968. Michael Molnar was the architect and Uniontown Construction Co. was the general contractor.
The two-story red brick building had the reading room and adult book stacks on the first floor, and the children's department and meeting rooms on the second. It covered 17,000 square feet, about twice as big as the old library. The building also became the depository for numerous works of nationally known artists through the generosity of the Uniontown Art Club.
The total cost was $567,030.86 of which $397,446 came from state and federal sources, the remainder from local contributions.
The new library opened on May 16, 1970.
The steady growth of the library has continued in the past two decades until at present there are about 80,000 books and 5,000 other items (magazines, audiovisual materials, microfilm, etc.). and patrons can order from other libraries through the District Library at Monessen.
The Uniontown library has been completely computerized.
The only municipality which contributes to the upkeep of the library is the city of Uniontown, through allocation of 1.58 mills of the real estate tax. State library aid is received on a regular basis, and there are occasional county allocations. For this reason, residents of the city can borrow books free: those from townships pay a fee to check books out. The reference books and reading rooms are free to everyone.
Even while the library was struggling with economic problems starting in the early 1980s (hours had to be cut and personnel reduced), the board had the foresight to plan for additional expansion and renovation.
In 1994, the Eberly Foundation presented a $1.5 million grant to the library for this work.
A large two-story semicircular addition was built on the south side of the library, connecting the two wings of the previous building, in the place where a courtyard was formerly located. A new two-story tower surmounts the main entrance on the north.
The most noticeable result is enlargement of the Pennsylvania Room (the local history department) on the second floor, where the meeting rooms had previously been located. Its reading room will be directly above the general reading room on the first floor.
The book stacks have been moved to the front of the first floor, and the meeting rooms now occupy the former Pennsylvania Room section on the second floor.
The circulation desk and offices on the first floor have been remodeled, and the children's department on the second floor has been modernized. The renovation will provide additional storage space.
Architects Dale Drost and Ernest Walters designed the project and Stockton Construction Company was general contractor.
The library has had the advantage of board members who have given selflessly of their time, resources and expertise to the advancement of the library - people like McClellan Leonard, the real "father" of the old library; longtime City Councilman Benjamin Williams, Peter Gentilcore, Mrs. Samuel Feigus, Edna Mae Godard and many others.
Head Librarians of the Uniontown Public Library
Ocie Anderson 1929-1932
Mrs. H. D. Hutchinson 1932-1947
Mabel E. Zearley 1947-1967
Joanne Coble Hess 1967-1979
Barry Blaine 1979-1994
Christy Fusco 1994-2007
Lynne Tharan 2008-
Memorial Donations and Honorary Donations
A contribution to the Library is a meaningful way in which the memory of a deceased relative, friend or neighbor can be preserved. It is also a fitting tribute for a special living person you may want to honor.
When a memorial or honorary gift is made, the family or the honoree designated will be notified, advising them of your thoughtfulness. You will also receive an acknowledgment of your gift to the Library.
Uniontown Public Library Staff
Lynne E. Tharan, Library Director
Jenna DeFrei, Library Technician
Judy Giachetti, Library Technician
Virginia Glass, Library Technician
Linda Jennings, Library Technician
Dianne McFeaters, Children's Librarian
Steve Petruska, Facilities Supervisor
Dolores Rhodes, Assistant Librarian
Maria Sholtis, Historical Resources Reference Librarian
Laurita Soisson, Library Technician
Sherry Yourchik, Library Technician