Mayor lauds Punxsy libraries

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Mayor James Wehrle — who recently obtained a new library card as part of his commitment to read more books and spend more time at the Punxsutawney Memorial Library — has proclaimed February as “Library Lovers’ Month.”

Coral Ellshoff, director of the Punxsutawney Memorial Library, said Punxsutawney has a rich history of libraries, such as the Tibby Library at the Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society’s Lattimer House.

Jeanne Curtis, the librarian at the Tibby Library, said it is primarily used for research, especially genealogy.

Other uses include local research of classmates through high school yearbooks; city directories; family history; local history; and Jefferson County and neighboring county histories.

Currently, the Tibby Library has a special display, “People and Places in Punxsutawney,” featuring novels and non-fiction books that are related to Punxsutawney, such as “Aces,” a World War II novel by Robert Denny, who grew up in Punxsy and was a World War II bomber, and “Tiger at the Bar” by Chester Harris, the story of Punxsy native Charles J. Margiotti, a prominent lawyer, business executive, civic and political leader and Pennsylvania Attorney General from 1935-1938.

The Tibby Library is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
Before she was librarian at the Tibby Library, Curtis was a librarian for 34 years in the Punxsutawney Area School District: 32 years as an elementary librarian and two years at Punxsutawney Area Middle School.

“My mother asked me if I would have to become the Punxsutawney Area High School librarian before I could retire,” Curtis said. “I told her no, because I had already worked there as a student teacher. Been there, done that.”

Ellshoff said every student in the Punxsutawney Area School District will now receive a library card, even if they don’t live in Jefferson County.

This has created a level playing field for every student in the school district, as they can obtain library cards, read library books and participate in the summer reading program.

“Summer reading has proven to be very important, so that kids can hit the ground running when school begins again in September,” she said.
Ellshoff said that many libraries including, the Punxsy library, are doing more for patrons through their Web sites.

The Punxsy library’s Web site,, has a link to Access PA Power, which provides access to $600 million in books just by entering a library card number.

Ellshoff said “Library Lovers Month” is not just about celebrating libraries; it’s celebrating library users.

“What can your library do for you?” she said.