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Northern Cambria Public Library's History

The history of library service in northern Cambria County started in what was then the Borough of Barnesboro. The Barnesboro Library Association was formed in February of 1956, following a meeting called by Fr. Augustine Cestario, then pastor of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church. Father Cestario’s belief was that a citizen of a free democratic society should have the opportunity to continue his education throughout his lifetime. On April 20, 1956 the Barnesboro Public Library opened in donated space on the sun porch of the VFW.

A need for library service in Spangler Borough was evident following a successful summer reading program for children.  That led to the establishment of the Spangler Public Library in 1957.  The Barnesboro Library staff and board provided the leadership for the founding of the Hastings, Patton, Nanty Glo and Lilly libraries.

Bookmobile service was established in 1961 with a grant from the State Library.  A historic event in the annals of libraries in Cambria County occurred when County Commissioners Joseph P. Roberts, Hiram Ribblett and Frank Burns signed a contract with the Barnesboro Public Library in February 1961 to provide funds for a bookmobile and to assist the rural community libraries.  It was the first county money ever contributed toward library service in Cambria County.  The Rural Library Demonstration Project gave Barnesboro Public Library the status of a County Library.  The proposal was written and directed by Eleanor Lantzy, volunteer Librarian.

 In May of 1963 the Cambria County Public Library services in Barnesboro were merged with the Cambria Public Library in Johnstown.

The Northern Cambria Public Library was formed on January 1, 2000, when the boroughs of Barnesboro and Spangler officially merged and became the borough of Northern Cambria, PA. The library is a merger of the former Barnesboro Public Library, originally founded in 1956, and the former Spangler Public Library, originally founded in 1957. Many hours of work went into merging the two Boards of Directors, creating new by-laws and new articles of incorporation, and filing new 501(c)(3) papers.

The headquarters of the new Northern Cambria Public Library was located in the former Spangler Public Library building, which was renamed the Northern Cambria Public Library-South. The former Barnesboro Public Library building was designated a branch and renamed the Northern Cambria Public Library-North.

In December 2003 financial considerations led to the closing of the South building and the shifting of all materials, computers and services to the North building.

Recent Accomplishments

In an effort to make the Northern Cambria Public Library more user-friendly several improvements have been implemented.  A book drop-off bin was added for after hour returns.  The Children’s Department has been upgraded with the installation of new carpeting. High school students from Northern Cambria High School have added wall murals to brighten the décor.

Another need that was identified was a community meeting room in which to hold our Story Hour programs, training and other activities.  That led to the renovation of a section of the facility, through a grant from the Cambria County Commissioners and support from Friends of the Northern Cambria Public Library and the Board of Trustees. This room became available in the spring of 2006 and has proved a valuable addition.

Through input from our patrons we offered several programs in 2006.  An adult computer class and a youth cyber camp were well received and utilized.  In addition to offering cable Internet service on our seven public computers, we are now an Internet Hot Spot offering wireless service to the community.  By constantly updating our services, we are continuing to make our library an important resource in the community.

Interior view of the former Spangler Public Library.

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