A Conversation with Ben and Erin

Both Pittsburgh natives, Library Director, Ben Hornfeck and Assistant Director, Erin Weaver, have been working in libraries for years.  

Ben began his library career fifteen years ago as an Elementary Librarian before transitioning after six years to the public library field. Through a series of serendipitous events, he became library director after first starting in a part-time, summer position at South Fayette Township Library.  

Erin has been working in public libraries for the last thirteen years. She began her career in Georgia as a Library Associate, then after five years moved to North Carolina, before moving back to Pittsburgh. Just like Ben, she became Assistant Director after beginning her career at our library in a part-time position. 

Fun fact, both Ben and Erin earned their undergraduate degrees from Clarion University taking many library science classes together before crossing paths again at Bridgeville Public Library. 

What is your favorite part of the job? 

Ben: Getting to know and work with so many wonderful community members. Literature and libraries provide a rich, shared experience allowing us to connect with one another. 

Erin: Working with the public and community partners. I love working with our Friends of the Library and it’s so rewarding to be able to bring engaging community speakers into the library. 

Any accomplishments that you’re most proud of? 

B: Expanding the programming the library offers, both in and out of the library. Since 2016, we have grown our adult programming from a few clubs to include a wide range of speakers and hands on learning experiences and activities. We have also added a Children’s Outreach Specialist and a Teen and Youth Services Librarian. 

E: Adding hotspots to the library’s collection. Not everyone has easy or affordable access to the internet, so having hotspots available for check out is a step towards bridging this gap. 

Any favorite events or memories? 

B: Starting in 2017, the Friends of the Library host a not-so-spooky Halloween Party for all ages each October. The party takes over the entire library with games, music, performers, and, most importantly, costumes! The success of the party is thanks to the enthusiasm and creativity of the Friends of the Library, an all-volunteer group, but it is a joy to support and attend each year. 

E: One of my favorite memories was the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Fundraiser that we did in 2019. It was a wonderful evening, full of live music and a series of chocolate and wine pairings. The staff, board, Friends of the Library, and volunteers all worked together to create a truly magical evening. 

What would you want someone who is new to the borough to know about the library? 

E: That the library offers access to an incredible range of free resources. We have free programs for all age groups and have many items available for check out that you wouldn’t normally think of, such as museum passes, board games, and hotspots. 

What do you think is the most important thing that the library does? 

B: Providing access to information. The library, information, and resources it provides are consistently available for free to all who need them, which only becomes more important in modern society. 

E: Supporting education and literacy. The library is there to help in so many ways, whether it’s through programming or offering access to technology.  

What makes Bridgeville Public Library unique? 

E: One of the many things that makes Bridgeville special is the accessibility of its location. Being in a residential area, people can simply walk to the library, which is wonderful. 

Bridgeville Public Library and South Fayette Township Library recently decided the contract for management they have shared since 2013 will conclude at the end of the year. How do you envision Bridgeville and South Fayette working together after the contract ends? 

B: The strength and success of the contract is thanks to all of the dedicated people on the staff, board, and Friends of the Library who work together for the betterment of our communities. Those relationships will continue as we continue to support one another, sharing resources and creating programs; we all benefit from helping one another. 

E: The libraries have always worked well together, and I foresee us continuing to partner on program opportunities and sharing ideas. 

What do you see in the future for the library? 

B: We will continue to find ways to grow the library, serving as an important space for people to gather for education, entertainment, and recreation. At the same time, we will continue to expand our reach by finding more ways to offer library services throughout the community and embracing innovative technologies.  

E: I see the library continuing to grow its presence in the community through partnerships and outreach. Engaging, high-quality programming will remain a priority.  

What is your favorite book or author? 

B: I’m a sucker for a good dog book, Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan is a particular favorite. Holes by Louis Sachar is a childhood favorite that I still recommend to families. 

E: True crime is one of my favorite genres. I love Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. Another favorite is The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of my favorites and I try to re-read it every few years.