History

With its rich history steeped in education thanks to Washington and Jefferson College, it’s no surprise that a library in Canonsburg dates back to almost as early as the town itself. There have been many incarnations and buildings over the years, and the Greater Canonsburg Library Association that many of us are familiar with wasn’t formed until 1958. We were housed in the Borough Building on Pike Street from 1964 until 2011, when we moved into our new, state-of-the-art building and became the Frank Sarris Public Library.

Just as our library and library association has ebbed and flowed over the years, we’ve had a number of local organizations helping us out. From the Canonsburg JayCees (members of the Junior Chamber of Commerce) to the Friends of Frank Sarris Public Library and the Teen Advisory Board, we’ve never had a shortage of support when it comes to raising funds and awareness.

As time has changed and technology has evolved, our needs have also changed. No longer are we simply a space to do research and check out books. We are now a full community center, complete with an art gallery, café, genealogy room, a number of computers, an engaging children’s space, meeting and party rooms, and more. Folks come to the library to watch movies, paint, craft and game. And so, our need for funding and support has also grown.

Our current library boasts 62,000 items – including books, CDs, DVDs, audio books and research materials – as well as 65 popular magazines and an extensive reference collection housed in 30,000 square feet of space. We are also a member of the WAGGIN network, which comprises 20 libraries in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties. If we don’t have a book, CD, DVD or other resource, and it is within the WAGGIN system, we can have it delivered to our library so that you don’t have to scour the area trying to find it. In addition, WAGGIN offers the ability to renew and reserve books online – without leaving your home. We also have Zinio, which is an extensive collection of digital magazines, available for our patrons.

The Frank Sarris Public Library is open six days a week. We also have a Career Center, photo copying and fax services and internet access. All you need to take advantage of any of our services is a library card.

Stop in, we are looking forward to seeing you and serving you!

Timeline

1848
The Philalethian and Philadelphian Societies connect with the Olome Institute and form the beginnings of the Canonsburg Library.

Source: Canonsburg Weekly Notes, Nov. 4, 1886

1864
The resident members of the Philalethian and Philadelphian Societies present books to the Students Christian Association of Washington & Jefferson College.

Source: Canonsburg Weekly Notes, Nov. 4, 1886

1869
The books are returned to the donors and are moved to the residence of Mrs. Jane Martin, who lives on West Pike Street.

Source: Canonsburg Weekly Notes, Nov. 4, 1886

Feb. 7, 1879
A meeting of citizens is held in the public school building to establish a public library. Members of the Philalethian and Philadelphian Societies loan their books to the Canonsburg Library Association.

Source: Canonsburg Weekly Notes, Nov. 4, 1886

April 1, 1903
According to a blurb in the Canonsburg Daily Notes, librarian Miss Lizzie G. Barnett states that the number of books in the Canonsburg Library is close to 5,000, and that the library will be ready to open in its new location on the second floor in the Borough Building. At that time, the Borough Building was located

Source: Canonsburg Daily Notes, April 1, 1903

1905
Canonsburg Library reorganizes.

Source: Canonsburg Daily Notes, April 17, 1909

Nov. 3, 1905
Canonsburg Library signs a lease for a new location in the Donaldson-Gowern Building on Pike Street. It is to be located on the second floor, above Donaldson’s Drug Store. Membership to the library will cost $2 per year – which translates to more than $53 in today’s dollars.

Source: Canonsburg Daily Notes, Nov. 4, 1905

April 12, 1906
The Library hosts a reception to celebrate its new, renovated quarters in the Donaldson-Gowern Building.

Source: Canonsburg Daily Notes, April 12, 1906

Jan. 1, 1912
A blurb in Canonsburg’s Daily Notes announces that the library will close and the books will be offered at a private sale.

Source: Canonsburg Daily Notes, Jan. 1, 1912

1925
The library reorganizes thanks in part to the efforts of Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and moves to the second floor of the borough building on the corner of Pike Street and Greenside Avenue, in front of where today’s borough building sits.

Source: Images of America: Canonsburg by Jerry Grefenstette

April 13, 1957
A new children’s room opens at the Library.

Source: Canonsburg Daily Notes, April 12, 1957

Feb. 26, 1958
An article in Canonsburg’s Daily Notes states that the Canonsburg JayCees (members of the Junior Chamber of Commerce) are trying to raise $30,000 for the purchase of a new library building.

Source: Canonsburg Daily Notes, Nov. 4, 1886

December 1958
The Greater Canonsburg Library Association files an application with Washington County Courts to incorporate as a non-profit organization.

Source: Canonsburg Daily Notes, Dec. 22, 1958

April 26, 1959
The new Greater Canonsburg Library located in a house on Pike Street that was purchased and remodeled by the JayCees, is dedicated.

Sept. 20, 1964
The Library moves to yet another new home, in the new municipal building, located at 68 E. Pike Street.

Source: Canonsburg Daily Notes, Sept. 21, 1964

1998-2001
Having outgrown its space at the municipal building, the library begins looking for a new building. The property that houses Western Center in Southpointe, the property that used to house Foodland, the property that housed Canonsburg Bowling Alley, a used car lot building on South Central Avenue and property on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Murdock Street are all considered.

Source: Library documents

2002-2003
The Library board signs a contract with Astorino architects to design the new library.

Source: Library documents

2004-2005
Fundraising for the new building gets underway, and the acquisition of the property is in progress.

April 28, 2005
Members of the Greater Canonsburg Library Association unveil plans for the new building to the public.

Source: Observer-Reporter, April 30, 2015

April 2006
Canonsburg entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Sarris donates $1.5 million for the construction of the new building, and secures naming rights.

2007
DEP testing, variances and deed issues prevent the groundbreaking and construction for the new building.

Source: Library documents

Jan. 8, 2010
Ground is broken for the new library.

Source: Observer-Reporter, Jan. 9, 2010

March 1, 2010
Frank Sarris passes away.

Source: Observer-Reporter, March 3, 2010

June 15, 2011
The new Frank Sarris Public Library opens.

Source: Observer-Reporter, June 16, 2011

June 11, 2012
Peggy Tseng takes over as the new library director, following the departure of Lyn Crouse.

Source: Observer-Reporter, June 12, 2012