WEST PITTSTON — Visitors walking through the West Pittston Library on Saturday could bump into Marilyn Monroe, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, Cleopatra and Hillary Clinton.
Life-sized cutouts of those and 24 other famous women stood in the library, each displaying a synopsis of the individual’s accomplishments for viewers to read. They were there as part of the library’s celebration of Women’s History Month, said library director Anne Bramblett Barr.
The display also will be available for viewing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Participants can spend time learning “little-known facts about very fascinating women” Barr said. In addition, they can see what the library has to offer as part of an “open house tour,” she said.
“We pride ourselves as an educational and enrichment organization,” said Barr. “We want our visitors to see the library in a different way.”
Saturday’s event represented the institution’s continuing comeback from the 2011 flood that stifled last year’s programs. After $200,000 worth of renovations, the library is alive and well, offering the newest educational tools, she added.
Barr expects more than 500 visitors to the library, including members of the local community and students from the Wyoming Area Montgomery Elementary School. In addition to the displays, the library offered children’s games, information scavenger hunts and other activities tied to women’s history.
Summer Belles, the library’s youth services coordinator, conducted the research on each of the selected women. Editing their accomplishments down to a summary was difficult because they all had so many interesting facts about their lives, she said.
She marveled at how some of them made their marks almost accidentally. Astronaut Sally Ride, for example, joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration after answering a newspaper advertisement, and Julia Childs eventually became interested in cooking after finding she was too tall for service in the army or navy.
The women in the library’s display were organized into six categories based on their contributions. Those categories: human and civil rights, politicians and royalty, exploration and adventure, sports and entertainment, women of firsts, and famous epitaphs, Belles said.
The cutouts were donated by Wilkes-Barre businessman Stephen Taren, who sells them via a website, historicalcutouts.com.
He also donated cutouts of U.S. presidents in 2011. He sells a significant number of cutouts of historical figures because of public interest, he said. He prefers creating likenesses of historical figures because they offer more than modern pop culture figures, he said.
Visitors to the library can “be inspired by the lives of these women,” Taren said.