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Steel Town Library Receives Humanities Grant

The B.F. Jones Memorial Library in Aliquippa has received a $5,650 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to be used for the next steps in preserving their collection of regional history.

Library director Linda Helms said that they will use the money to hire a consultant who can help decide how to best preserve the documents about the history of the Aliquippa steel mill and the town, built largely by the mill's owner, Jones and Laughlin (J&L) Steel. The library is named after B.F. Jones, a co-owner of the original company.

Helms said that $400 will go towards the travel costs for a consultant out of Philadelphia.

"The rest is for her to spend a day in the library, and I think it's three days in the office putting together a needs assessment for our collection," Helms said.

Helms said that the library has some goals for the collection that they hope to accomplish through another grant next year, following the consultant's recommendations.

"We hope to consolidate it in one storage area and make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep it safe from deterioration," Helms said. "Then part of the plans are to grow this into digitizing some of the photographs and some of the documents and making them available in the Pennsylvania digitization project."

The library's collection includes newspaper clippings, photographs, yearbooks, and steel industry documents.