While working on its Writing the Next Chapter Capital Campaign, Annville Free Library is giving construction salvage its own “next chapter.”

Read More: Take a tour of the Annville Free Library’s ongoing $4.4 million expansion project

The library has been reusing, recycling, and repurposing materials left over from the construction crew and parts of the old buildings that would otherwise go to waste. These materials range from larger items, such as doors, windows, stairs, and appliances, to smaller items, such as wires, scraps of wood, and fasteners. 

Some of this salvage is repurposed into art by Writing the Next Chapter Committee member Mary Woolson and sold to help fund the expansion campaign.

Annville Free Library volunteer Mary Woolson poses with a couple of the pieces of art she created using material salvaged during construction of the library’s expansion. To date, Woolson has raised around $1,250 for the library’s capital campaign through sales of the artwork. (Thyme Steele)

“I’ve always dabbled in art and love art, so this was a fun way to do something [for] the library but also something that is in touch with my own values of reducing, reusing, and recycling,” she said. 

Woolson pieces together various scrap materials to create her work. From fish made out of electric boxes to a chicken made from a pipe and some wire, each piece is unique. 

“[Woolson] was able to use things like knobs and tubes from houses and turn them into fanciful creatures,” said Marty Brandt, president of the Annville Free Library Board of Directors and co-chair of the Writing the Next Chapter Committee. “Once we realized that, we let her have whatever she wants [from the salvage].”

One of the pieces of art created by Annville Free Library volunteer Mary Woolson using material salvaged during construction of the library’s expansion. To date, proceeds from the sale of art pieces created by Woolson have raised around $1,250 for the project. (Thyme Steele)

Woolson and Brandt live across the street from each other, so Brandt would often leave pieces of salvage on Woolson’s porch so she could use it in her art. 

“It’s been a fun project,” said Woolson. “I figured, to keep it out of the trash, why not? It gives it new life, even if just for a little while.”

The salvage that is not recycled or used for art is sold to members of the community to repurpose it for projects ranging from house repairs to building a greenhouse out of old window sashes. This and the library’s other efforts to reduce waste have received a positive response from the community.

“They’re happy that it’s not going into the landfills and they all appreciate our efforts to keep things out of the landfills,” said Brandt.

Examples of the material salvaged during construction work at Annville Free Library. Library volunteer Mary Woolson has turned this material into art as a fundraiser for the project, keeping the waste out of landfills in the process. (Thyme Steele)

Aside from keeping waste out of landfills, giving the construction salvage new life has helped fund the expansion. The sale of construction salvage from the renovation has raised thousands of dollars for the Writing the Next Chapter fund, and sales from Woolson’s art alone have raised around $1,250. 

Read More: Annville Free Library seeks local artists for contributions to fundraising project

“This is no small project for a small community,” said Woolson. “To be able to secure grants, funding, and support from the community has been tremendous. We certainly couldn’t do it without the commitment of the people here in Annville and beyond.”

The library is trying to give the buildings themselves a new life as well. Throughout the planning process, the library has been working with Carol Hickey from Hickey Architecture and the Annville Township Historic Architectural Review Board to strike a balance between the old and the new.

A new addition is underway at the Annville Free Library. The library’s main entrance will be located here, replacing the current entrance along Killinger Street. A new reading patio will be installed to the right of the new addition, flanked by a small pond used for stormwater management. The structure’s gable with double chimneys is an homage to the current structure’s gables, which themselves are a design reference to a late 1800s house that previously stood on the site. (Thyme Steele)

“I’m ecstatic that such a great group of people are leading the effort,” said Brandt. “Great support from community members, residents, businesses, and municipalities have been instrumental in raising the funds to do this expansion project.”

While the duplex was completely gutted on the inside, its exterior was preserved to maintain its historic character. Also, the transoms (windows above doors) found throughout the architecture of the duplex were mirrored in the new addition to create unity throughout the building. 

“I’m glad we were able to repurpose this historic building and keep it historic,” said Brandt. 

The library was also able to reduce waste by purchasing chairs and other furniture from the Lancaster Public Library. The library had just opened up a new building, so it was auctioning off furniture it no longer needed.

“They’ll get reused in this library, so that’s a nice touch, too,” said Woolson. 

Overall, the Annville Free Library’s commitment to waste reduction during the expansion process is another way it is preserving the future as part of the Writing the Next Chapter Campaign.

“I just think the library is integral to any community,” said Woolson, who got a library card as soon as she and her husband moved to Annville. “We really just value what it brings to the community, for children, families, and retirees like us, and we want to make sure that it is secured for the future.”

For more information about the Writing the Next Chapter Capital Campaign or to make a donation, visit writingthenextchapter.org

To inquire about purchasing Woolson’s art, contact the library at 717-867-1802. 

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