Bayne to celebrate 100th anniversary

Photo by Nancy Whyte for The Citizen

Imagine a home library with over 25,000 volumes of books and dozens of periodicals, with many more available on-line in any one of several computers located in what probably was a front parlor or in a few of the upstairs bedrooms.

Not hard to imagine for anyone visiting Bellevue's Bayne Library and the park of the same name, located along North Balph Avenue in the heart of the borough. And that is because it once was the home belonging to Amanda Bayne Balph who, with her sister, Jane Teece, gifted the Victorian-style dwelling and four acres surrounding it to the residents of Bellevue, with the stipulation that they be used as a library and a public park.

In May. 1914, the first two rooms opened, launching a century that started with the poetry of Robert Frost, along with H. G. Wells' "War of the Worlds" and Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Tarzan of the Apes" and rolled on to the unimaginable: even to Wells: a world of e-books, the internet and digital films.

Such a history certainly deserves celebration, and that is exactly what Library and cultural director Denise Plaskon, along with members of her staff and volunteers, have planned, with an adult celebration scheduled for May 16, 6-8 p.m., followed by a family celebration on May 17, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. The family activities will include a book character costume contest, with costumes judged on creativity. Prizes will be awarded in three age categories, 0-4 years, 5-8 years, and 9-12 years.

The event is typical of Plaskon's efforts at providing new services and activities for patrons.

"I like to have a handle on what the community wants," she said.

She noted that people have responded favorably to the library's preschool story time and that other top attractions have been the movies and concerts in the park held during the summer months. Patrons can check the Web site to find all of the offerings listed on the event calendar, which lists activities that have been planned to appeal to all ages and to as many interests as possible.

Financial support for Bayne comes from a variety of sources, including Bellevue Borough, State library grants, library-generated funds, table gaming as in casino gambling and donations. And there remains the trust fund established by the family that once called the library their home, the Baynes.

"Only the interest from that fund is used," Plaskon said.

Moving into the second century of serving the community, Plaskon is working to keep the library alive and relevant, with her efforts meeting with success.

"Anything that people suggest, we try to incorporate into new programs or offerings. We like to know what the community wants."

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