WEST PITTSTON —The West Pittston Library served as a home away from home for the late Alice Judge Costello.
Because of Costello’s love and dedication to the library, a lecture series was formed in 2013, one year after she passed away at the age of 84, to carry on her memory.
Lectures will be held at the library on Wednesday Sept. 9; Thursday, Sept. 17; and Tuesday, Sept. 29. Corpus Christi Parish will host a lecture on Saturday, Sept. 26.
The library will also host a tea party from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8 to celebrate Costello’s birthday.
Library director Anne Bramblett Barr said the idea for a lecture series came after speaking to Costello’s niece, Mary Ann Ardoline, in 2013.
“Alice Judge Costello had just passed away and she was from West Pittston,” said Bramblett Barr. “She had a great affinity for the library so Mary Ann, who lives in Bethlehem and doesn’t have a lot of ties to the area, wanted to make a gift to the library in memory of her aunt. After brainstorming with staff members about what we could do, I remembered that colleges and universities have these lecture series and used that as the model. I called Mary Ann back and asked her about naming it after her aunt and she said it sounded fantastic.”
Bramblett Barr said Costello’s family donates money to the library every year to help pay for costs related to the lectures.
After offering only two lectures per year the last two years, West Pittston Library Adult Programming Coordinator Jen Moran said this year the lecture series will include four lectures titled, “Treasures Near and Far.”
Moran said the theme comes from a lecture being given by Stephen Phillips of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, who has offered lectures at the library before.
“We decided immediately we wanted to have Dr. Steve come back and the title of his program is ‘Treasures From the Tomb of Tutankhamen,’” said Moran. “It was one of those thing where we wanted to go with treasures and what we had locally that are considered treasures and what could we do to encompass that whole theme. We just went with that idea.”
It wasn’t just during her youth that the library became a safe haven for Costello, as Ardoline said it was a great way for her aunt to escape reality after her husband became ill.
“I know for sure my aunt Alice, my mother (Nancy Judge Ardoline) and uncle Bob (Judge) would walk to the library every week and that is something that she did her entire life,” Ardoline said. “It became a destination for her, not just to take out books, but it was a destination to talk to people, socialize.”
Although Ardoline has never attended any of the lectures, she’s always up to date on them.
“Anne keeps me alerted about how the lectures go and how many people were there,” Ardoline said. “It’s remembering a loved one in a very public way and I couldn’t be more pleased with that. The library and West Pittston were very important to Aunt Alice. She bought me my first Nancy Drew books; we always had a connection with books.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher