SCRANTON, Pa. -- The Albright Memorial Library was given as a gift to the city of Scranton back in the 1890s. One of the library's greatest gifts has been its longtime director who is retiring today after 56 years there.
Jack Finnerty walked through the library doors back in October of 1962, a 15-year-old junior at the high school across the street from the Albright Memorial Library on Vine Street. It was a job interview for a position that promised good pay for a kid back then.
"50 cents an hour! That's why!"
The pay has improved over those 56 years. He's served as the library's director for 32 years.
Finnerty has worked almost every job here as he prepared for retirement. He looked to protect the walls that protect all the books.
"Scranton has a lot of great architecture. I would make the argument that this is the crown jewel," Finnerty said.
A full interior renovation just wrapped up last year. Before that, Finnerty spearheaded a full restoration of the library's stone architecture outside.
"I feel comfortable that this building is in very good shape, there's no reason why it can't survive another 50, 75 years, and along the line there will be other things that will need to be done, but I'm confident that whatever library board is here at that time, will find a way to do it."
When John J. Albright donated the building to Scranton in 1893, he wrote that it was for the elevation of all classes.
For the past 56 years, the library has certainly had a lot of class.
"The most significant thing about this whole endeavor, it's not the building, it's not the collection, it's its use," said Finnerty.
Finnerty will walk out the doors here for the last time as director but it won't be long until he's back through them as a library patron, probably on Sunday. He plans to do a little light reading in retirement.