The History of Glenshaw Public Library

8/22/13 Post-Gazette Article

11/29/12 Post-Gazette Article

The oldest free library west of the Alleghenies!

The Glenshaw Public Library was established in 1895 by Reverend J.T.R. Currie of the Glenshaw Valley Presbyterian Church. The Reverend selected and catalogued all books and served as the library's first librarian. Community and church members collected and donated books and raised money that was used to buy new books and pay the librarian’s salary. The library quickly outgrew the space, and in 1905, it moved from the church to the first floor of the White Elephant, which is the building that currently serves as the Glenshaw Public Library.

The White Elephant was originally erected by a fraternal organization of Glenshaw residents who used the building for disreputable purposes. Local Glenshaw residents, who were unhappy with the scandalous goings on, formed the Glenshaw Hall Association and bought the property in 1895. The building was used for several local businesses including a paper hanger, bakery, gown shop, and confectionary. When the library moved to the first floor in 1905, the second floor of the White Elephant was used for club meetings, plays, and dances.

In 1913, the library moved to the Building and Loan room in the back of the I.W. Edgar Building which was being used as a grocery store. While located there, Miss Mary Simmons was the librarian from 1913-1938. During her 25 years as the librarian, she sold the first train ticket in Glenshaw. It remained there until 1924, when the library moved back to its present location. In 1944, the Lower Glenshaw Library Association purchased the White Elephant and the Glenshaw Public Library received its permanent home. For years afterward, every Friday, school children across the street would be sent over to select and bring back books to read in class.

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