Author Archives: Ford City Library

Check out FCPL’s new Chess Club


Libraries are not only the perfect place to learn new things, but also a great place for  revisiting old interests. Public libraries provide a welcoming space for clubs and programs, helping to intruigue and educate community members young and old.

To continue offering unique and fun social opportunities, the Ford City Library has initiated a chess club! The club is open to all ages and skill levels. Whether you have never played chess before, want to expand your knowledge, or simply enjoy the challenge of playing with new opponents, this multi-generational program is a great place to get your chess fix.

Chess Club will meet from 4-6 p.m. every Wednesday at the Ford City Library. No sign up required, just show up!

Chess Club (2)

Cell Phone Photography classes offered in February!

Stephen Butler is a professional photographer who has recently returned to his roots in Armstrong County from Kansas City, where he was the Photographer in Residence at the American Jazz Museum, photographing artists such as Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Esperanza Spalding. His work also included portraits, weddings, senior pictures, sports and events. He will be working in the Western PA area as well as in West Virginia and in the Charlotte area, where he also has family. Mr. Butler is the son of Fr. Roger Butler, former rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Kittanning, and Jane Englert, former teacher at Dayton High School, and Kittanning Junior High School. He has been a photographer for over thirty-five years (KHS yearbook staff, 1975-77), but has only attempted to become a full time professional in the last ten. He has almost twenty years of teaching experience in New York City and Kansas City, and eight years of acting experience on stage and in commercials. He brings skills in observation, interpretation and social interaction to his work, which he strives to make authentic. “I look to uncover the beauty and personality, what I call the energy of my subjects who range from children to senior citizens. I enjoy helping the reluctant or self-critical to discover that being "photogenic" has everything to do with the photographer.”

You can see more of Mr. Butler's work on Facebook:

Or on his website:

Join local photographer Stephen Butler for this 3 part class to learn things like:

  • What can my cell phone camera do?
  • What setting should I choose?
  • Can I override the settings?
  • What is the best angle to shoot form?
  • Is light more important than speed?
  • Portrait or landscape?
  • What if the light is behind my subject?
  • What is the difference between a digital zoom and an optical zoom?

Classes will be held Februrary 9, 16, and 23 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. You may attend one or all of the classes.
This class is free and open to the public. Registration required. Call the Ford City Library to sign up.



A chance to revisit days gone by

Families wait for a train in Ford City, probably to be transported to the annual Kennywood Community Day event.  - Pete Harmon Collection

Families gather along the tracks in Ford City, probably waiting to be transported to the annual Kennywood Community Day event. – Pete Harmon Collection


Area collector to share photos & artifacts

When Kittanning Police Officer Pete Harmon retires next year, he’s looking forward to applying his detective skills to his favorite subjects: local history and genealogy.

Pete already spends much of his spare time collecting records and photos and is the go-to guy for historical Wick City, the neighborhood on the north end of Kittanning.

While many of us have pictures and records packed away in a closet or attic, Pete has files of family trees and scanned photographs in cloud storage and on multiple home computers. He’s pretty organized, but is eager to develop his database so he can retrieve files more efficiently. That's a big undertaking he hopes to jump into once he leaves the force.

Although Pete specializes in the history of Kittanning and Wick City, his collection includes many items from the Ford City area, such as pictures of various area families; little league team photos taken in Ford City Park in the 1960s; information on Ford China Company, which became Eljer; a Ford China Company Pottery brochure, circa 1904; and various newspaper clippings of area events since the 1890s. 

“Some of the most recent things I’ve come across are photographs, medals and awards of Flick Wolfe,” Pete said.

Ernest "Flicker" Wolfe was captain of the Ford City High School basketball team in the 1920s. Pete has some original photos of Wolfe and some of his teammates. They’ll be among the things he’ll share next week at a library event.

On Feb. 8, Pete will present a display and talk to visitors about pictures and memorabilia from Ford City and surrounding communities, like Garretts Run, Rosston and Manorville. He’s hoping local folks will stop in to share their own items and memories, and to help him identify people, places and events in some of his pictures.

Our community has a rich history and celebrated heritage. We’re certain people won’t want to miss this great opportunity to share and preserve the past. Help us welcome Pete Harmon at this local history event.

Ford City Area History:

  • 12 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8
  • At Ford City Public Library, 1136 Fourth Ave., Ford City

For information, contact the library at 724-763-3591 or

Battling drugs in our community


What can a library do to help combat illicit drug use?

Indeed, what can any of us do…by ourselves? As with so many large-scale problems, grassroots movements may be our best hope in the opioid epidemic that is killing so many. A community effort is definitely needed.

Overdose deaths in Armstrong County have grown from 13 in 2013 to at least 41 last year. Armstrong County Coroner Brian Myers said so far this year he has seen about one overdose death every four or five days.  

According to the DEA, Armstrong County had the second highest per capita rate of drug-related overdose deaths in the state in 2015. Philadelphia County had the highest rate.

While law-enforcement officials continue on the frontlines, they frequently say we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Prevention and treatment are the key.

Now for some good news.

Armstrong County has some stellar prevention programs and citizens’ groups, such as the Drugs Kill Dreams program: the Reality Tour, at Armstrong County Jail; and Residents Against Illicit Drugs (RAID), in Apollo and Parker.

And, while treatment remains the big challenge here and in many rural communities, we have some innovative treatment programs at the county jail and at ACMH.

Last week, the Drug Free Communities Coalition held a well-attended meeting at the Belmont Complex. Although some past meetings have been hosted in Elderton, this was the first meeting in central Armstrong County and served to introduce area residents to the organization.

The Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission is the leading organization behind the Coalition. Commission Executive Director Kami Anderson told the Belmont crowd last week that community movements, such as the coalition, bring people together to contribute in different ways to combat drugs and save lives.

So, again, I ask:

What can a library do? Aside from raising awareness and informing citizens of treatment and prevention resources, it appears there are other ways for libraries to help.

According to Anderson, after-school programs are one prevention method used by nonprofits and faith-based groups. Statistics show, young people are most inclined to get into trouble and engage in risky behavior between 3:30 (the end of the school day) and 6 p.m. (when parents generally get home from work).

At Ford City Library, we’re making a commitment to double down on our after-school programming. It’s one of the ways we’re working as a drug-free community partner. Stay tuned to our blog for future ways we’ll be involved in the critical community fight against drugs.

The Drug Free Communities Coalition will meet again from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 16 at the Belmont Complex.

Ford City Library is going digital

Key Board

Beginning in 2017, our primary communication format for events and news will be electronic media. Specifically, we’ll be letting you know about things through social media and our blog – BiblioFiles.

We’ve eliminated our newsletter. But, for those who still want something to hang on the refrigerator, a printed event calendar will be distributed monthly at the library.

BiblioFiles will be hosted at This is where you will find frequent posts from library bloggers.

And, this is where you can tell us how we’re doing. Your comments will help guide our efforts to meet the information, recreation and social needs of the community.

We need your input!

In this, our first blog post, we would like to ask our readers for input on what you would like our blog to cover. In the comments below, tell us what interests you.

Will you only stop by to read about library-specific topics? Or, would you rather know about local resources, like genealogy, recreation, government and business?

Tell us about the things you liked in our newsletter. Did you really enjoy reading Bridge’s Corner? Were the book and film reviews your idea of fun? Or, were upcoming events the only thing you ever paid attention to?

And, what do you want us to avoid? Too many email alerts? Too few blog posts?

Reader opinions are critical to us as we work to meet your information needs.

For frequent updates on library events, visit or our website at

That’s all for now. Until next time, happy reading!