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Page created by Timothy Diredja and Emily Sciulli

Citizens Library: At A Glance

"Citizens Library's mission is to provide the resources to enrich, inform, and educate the public."

W&J students have all been to the campus library at one point or another.  But many don't know of another library that is just as close. Located at 55 South College Street, the Citizens Library has been a part of the Washington community since 1870. Unlike our library, this one offers more than just books and computers.  Each month, the library holds events and programs and for all ages.  Some are annual but many are ongoing as well such as Story Time for young children and book discussion groups for adults.  With so much going on, the Citizens Library is a great place to get involved with the community.


The Citizens Library was founded by Dr. Francis LeMoyne in 1870. The library was originally located in the Town Hall, but was then relocated to its current position in 1965. The Current Events club of Washington persuaded the Washington Borough Council and the Washington School Board to contribute equal sums annually to the library in 1904. This kind contribution, that is still donated today, transformed the library from a library with fees to being free to the community.

A campaign to raise money for renovations was held in 1990. The drive was for the extension of the Children's room and the Cultural Meeting area within the Library. A further campaign was launched in 2003, for renovations to the Adults Department.

Though the Library looks small, it is misleading, specifically the Children's Department which is situated in the basement. The Children's Department is a place for fun where children from preschool to 5th grade can enjoy and learn. There is a collection of over 26,000 books and magazines for recreational and educational purposes. Adults are catered for too, the Adults Department is a paradise for the bookworm with books to cater all readers' tastes.

Citizens Library and W&J

Written by Emily Sciulli

Over the years, W&J students have been increasingly active with Citizens Library, especially through volunteering.  Although there are many volunteer opportunities around Washington, community service at the library is a favorite among students.  It is a great option because it is so close to campus and the staff can always use a helping hand.  Students are welcome to volunteer on their own but W&J organizations like clubs and sports teams are especially popular.  For example, each year the Swimming and Diving team helps organize books for the library's annual book sale. 

As a swimmer, I truly have enjoyed helping out in our community service project because I love looking through old books.  In addition, I especially appreciate the hospitality of the staff members.  Just last year, director Kathy Kennedy allowed us to take any book as thanks for helping out.  When she saw that I was having trouble deciding between two books, she leaned over to me and said, "Go ahead...take both."  The simple gesture was enough to make my day.  W&J Spanish Club has volunteered at the library as well.  In the spring of 2008, they read bilingual stories to children during Story Time. 

Reading books to children is just one of the ways volunteers can help out at Citizens Library. Volunteers can also work at the front desk, stock shelves and teach computer classes. In addition, the Washington County Literacy Council,  is housed in Citizen's Library and promotes literacy by teaching adults basic literacy skills and, often welcomes volunteers to tutor.  

Citizens Library and the Community

The community is supported by the Citizens Library through the many services, departments and resources that are available for use. Members of the community are welcome in the Library at any time to ask for support that they require. For example, there are a number of free programs offered to the general public including recitals, S.A.T. testing preparations, book reviews and theater trips. They cater to all recreational and educational needs for people of all ages.

The library also provides internet access for the community, enabling individuals without internet access to reap the benefits of the online world. Online databases are accessible to anyone of interest through the library also. The databases include magazine, journal and newspaper articles and a photo archive for adults and children to benefit from. Also available is a 'Knowledge Source' with up-to-date information on social sciences, government and arts and humanities.

Staff members are welcoming, friendly and helpful with any query asked. All of the resources above are free to use with support from staff available anytime.

Support is provided to community members in a variety of interests ranging from computer workshops to photography contests. Story Time is an ongoing program provided by the library where authors and volunteers read books to children. A recent addition is a bilingual story time, where students from Washington and Jefferson read to children in Spanish.

 "Once Upon a Time..."

Based on an interview with a Story Time parent
Written By Emily Sciulli
I have been attending to Story Time with my two sons at the Citizen's Library for nearly two years.  Story Time is a great way for children to interact with other kids while listening to some of their favorite stories.  But a typical Story Time includes more than just listening to a few books.  In fact, my sons' favorite part is snack time!  Parents sign up for a session to bring something to eat such as cookies or crackers.  Kids also get to do activities that associate with the books that were read.  For example, one time after reading Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinksy, the boys and girls used felt boards and familiar shapes from the story to create their own pictures. 

The time always flies with my boys at Story Time.  Parents and kids alike have fun with the readings.  The boys and girls never fail to make parents laugh with their goofy antics.   We just never know what they are going to do or say!  I am looking forward to when my boys are older so that my wife and I can enroll them in the summer programs and the Family Night Story Times.  

A Visit to Story Time with the W&J Spanish Club
By Timothy Diredja 

Story Time is one of the favored programs available at the Citizen Library. Children collect in the Children's department, located in the basement of the library for reading sessions. However, a new direction has been adopted, with the introduction of the 'Bi-lingual Story Time' held on Saturday's at 1PM. With the help of Washington and Jefferson College Students, the Spanish club provided a new twist to an already popular event. Benefiting both the children and W&J students, this scheme sees members of the Spanish club reading literature to the children. Not only does this provide an introduction to a new language for many youngsters, but also encourages younger individuals to aspire to become bilingual, all the while providing important reading practice for the college students. The adaptation to the program has been a success with the children, with the majority dragging their parents to the next session!

The literature is provided by the students and the library.  The Spanish club is able to volunteer their time to this great cause. The library staff has confirmed that this new program is a big success-- so much that they would like to incorporate more foreign languages in the future.  Support is vital to the success of a program such as this, therefore it is a pleasure to see that the session was a winner with children registered with the library. I hope to see many more programs like this in the near future.

How to Get Involved

W&J students can get involved with the Citizens Library by contacting Susanna Hart, director of the college's Volunteer Services Office by e-mail at or by phone at 724-503-1001, ext. 3086. 

 Contact Information and Directions

Citizens Library and District Center

55 South College Street

Washington, PA 15301 


The Citizens Library located across the street from Old Main.  For more detailed instructions, visit

 Helpful Links

Citizen's Library

Washington County Literacy Council