Centre supports grant application to enhance Holt Library



BELLEFONTE — The Centre County Library and Historical Museum is applying for a state grant to enhance its Philipsburg branch.

During the Tuesday meeting of the Centre County Commissioners, a resolution was made in support of the application for the Keystone Grant for the Philipsburg-based Holt Memorial Library. The funding will go toward a more energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, according to Centre County Library and Historical Museum Executive Director Denise Sticha.

The maximum awarded to each grant recipient is $750,000, with a 50 percent local match required.

This resolution comes right on time, as the Keystone Grant is awarded only every other year, in the spring. The deadline to apply is this Friday, Sticha said. Keystone Grants come from the state realty tax and go toward capital improvement projects for libraries, parks and recreation.

Holt Library has an old HVAC system, of an undetermined age, in a circa 1959 building that once housed a bank, Sticha explained. The building, at 17 N. Front St., was turned into a library in 1963.

“It’s been one of those kinds of systems where it’s been tinkered with over the years to keep it up and running, and we’re finally getting to the point where it’s just not cost-effective to do that anymore,” she said. “There are a lot more energy efficient systems that we can take advantage of, and the expectation is that we would reduce our heating and cooling costs as a result of the project as well.”

The Holt Library has become an anchor in an otherwise economically-disadvantaged area, said John Sengle, library board president.

“We’re providing services that are desperately needed in that borough and surrounding communities, so we hope that this is something that gets approval through the Keystone Grant and helps us to continue to provide those services,” he said.

He added that he really appreciates the current and past county commissioners who have stuck by the library system, especially as it has been a tough time for budgets and at a time when a library is a very important resource for people to apply for jobs and do a range of other important activities.