WEST PITTSTON — Signs along Exeter Avenue cause drivers to chuckle.
The signs, which aren’t of the construction or roadwork variety, outside the West Pittston Library carry messages like “Books cry when you watch reality TV” or “Neighbors never complain about loud books.”
The purpose for the humor is to show people the West Pittston Library is a fun place.
“It shows that we do not take ourselves that seriously and we are not the librarians that will shush you,” said Adult Programming Coordinator Jen Moran. “We don’t want people to just come, check out a book and leave; we want them to come in and hang out.”
The ideas for the signs came from Moran who got some inspiration from the Internet and made up a few of her own.
The signs have garnered attention from the local community over the past few months and attendance for library programs has increased.
Youth Services Coordinator Summer Belles said locals have been using the social media to talk about the signs, creating attention for the library.
“People have been commenting on them and when we were just promoting programs, we didn’t know whether the signs were working or not,” Belles said. “People would come to the programs, but we didn’t know if that’s how they heard about it. Now, we know because they say, ‘Oh, I love your signs!’”
Moran and Belles, along with library Circulation Coordinator Maria Jiunta-Heck and director Anne Bramblett-Barr, feel the signs convey a message that the West Pittston Library is not a typical place to check out books.
Bramblett-Barr said when she was named director seven years ago, she hired Belles right away before bringing on Jiunta-Heck five years ago and Moran two years ago to complete her team.
According to Bramblett-Barr, there was no Adult Programming Coordinator until she created the position specifically for Moran.
“I wanted people with a really good sense of humor because I thought that was important,” Bramblett-Barr said. “I also wanted people with a really strong work ethic. They do an awesome job; I don’t have to check anything they do and I let them have free reign, but then they’re also hilarious.”
While the library staff reaches out to the community through signs, Jiunta-Heck also reaches out through her weekly columns in the Sunday Dispatch and Times Leader newspapers.
Her columns talk about everyday activities in her life from her family to her job and her battle with breast cancer.
“It makes me proud that people know me and that I touch them with that column in a way every week,” Jiunta-Heck said. “It gets people in the door and helps them feel like they belong here. My whole breast cancer story I talk about a lot and I think certain generations aren’t used to that and are scared of the word. I demystify it sort of and put humor in it. There is a lot of breast cancer in this area.”
Jiunta-Heck has undergone 10 surgeries and has been cancer-free for six years, but columns on her personal battle with the disease have encouraged people to reach out to her.
“Most recently she got a phone call from a woman who read her column and she was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Moran. “So, Maria, while she was shelving books, was talking to this woman. She was making her laugh and making jokes and by the end of the conversation the woman had more information and she and Maria became friends.”
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t love being here,” said Jiunta-Heck.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher