NEPA Scene Staff

Brewsterhout Rooftop Party is back to benefit Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 8

Brewsterhout Rooftop Party is back to benefit Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 8
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From a press release:

After taking a year off due to the pandemic, the Osterhout Free Library’s 12th annual Brewsterhout Rooftop Party is set for Friday, Oct. 8 atop the James F. Conahan Intermodal Transportation Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Running from 5 p.m.-8 p.m., the 21+ event will be held rain or shine. The rooftop of the Intermodal Center (47 S. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre) will be packed with food from local restaurants, beer, music, axe throwing, basket raffles, and more to celebrate the library and regional businesses. Over 30 different beer and food vendors will be participating (listed below).

Tickets, which are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, are available online via Eventbrite and in person at the Osterhout Free Library (71 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre). The ticket price includes food and beer, and tickets will be limited this year to promote safety and social distancing.

Beer vendors

2 Dogz and a Guy Brewing
Benny Brewing Company
Breaker Brewing Company
Northeast Eagle Distributors
Susquehanna Brewing

Non-alcoholic beverage donors

Abide Coffeehouse
Fox Ledge
Hilton Garden Inn Wilkes-Barre
Mohegan Sun Pocono

Food donors

AmberDonia Bakery
Bakery Delite
Boozy B’s
The Canning House
Ceccoli’s Pizza
Cinnabon Wilkes-Barre
Cosenza’s Pizza & Restaurant
Dunkin’ Donuts
Eden-a Vegan Café
Fit AF Nutrition
Franco’s Pizzeria
Front Porch Bake Shop
Jane’s Sugar Magnolia
Jay’s Famous Pork & Beef
Miller’s Ale House
Outback Steakhousee
Philly’s Phinest
Rodano’s on the Square
Sabatini’s Pizza
Senuna’s Bar & Grill
Sugar Plum Chocolates

In-kind and raffle basket donors

Axe Attack
CDE Exotics
Chacko’s Family Bowling
DJ Josh Beatz
Eleventh Element
FastSigns of Wilkes-Barre
Gerrity’s Supermarket
Jane’s Sugar Magnolia
Malacari’s Produce & Deli
Michael Mootz Chocolates
Northeast Eagle Distributors
Penn State University
Photography by Andy
Spacetime Mead & Cider
Valley Running
Wilkes-Barre City
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

For more information about the Brewsterhout Rooftop Party, visit

When prominent merchant and real estate magnate Isaac Smith Osterhout died in 1882, he willed a substantial portion of his estate for the establishment of a free public library. In 1887, the board of directors hired Melvil Dewey, creator of the Dewey decimal system, to act as an advisor. Dewey recommended that the board buy the First Presbyterian Church, an edifice built in 1849, and use it for approximately 10 years until permanent arrangements could be made. As it happened, this became the permanent arrangement. The Gothic architecture of the church proved quite suitable for a library. It was decided to use the former Sunday School room as a reference section. With its large fireplace and oak woodwork, it was thought to have the ambiance of a fine public library.

The library trustees hired Hannah Packard James to be the first head librarian and assigned her the task of organizing and preparing the library for its grand opening. The original library collection (approximately 10,000 volumes) consisted of books from Osterhout’s personal collection, part of the Atheneum (a local subscription library), and 9,500 volumes purchased from Charles Scribner and Sons. The Osterhout Free Library finally opened its doors to the public on Jan. 29, 1889 and was one of the first libraries in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Early achievements included the opening of one of the first children’s departments in the country in 1904. A stack wing was added in 1908, a two-story addition in 1966 and the Ken L. Pollock Children’s Wing in 1982.

In the flood caused by Hurricane Agnes in 1972, the library lost more than 69,000 books as well as all its magazines and newspapers. A massive recovery effort was launched and by 1975 the book collection had been rebuilt to 124,000 volumes.

The library closed briefly for extensive interior renovations in 1999, switching to a new computerized checkout system and the now-familiar yellow library cards. The reference department was converted into a pleasant reading room with volumes of fiction lining the walls. Walls were repainted, new furnishings installed, and additional equipment provided. The card catalogs were replaced by computer catalogs.

DVDs, videocassettes, compact discs, and audio cassettes have supplemented books for loan. As an information center, the library has had to enlarge its collection to provide materials in media other than print. Internet service is also available, and anyone is free to surf the Internet for business or pleasure.

The library again underwent extensive renovation, this time on the outside of the building. Throughout 2008 and 2009, work progressed on the roof, the masonry, the windows, and the landscaping. The beautiful results can be seen today.

With an ever-expanding range of services, the Osterhout Free Library served as a hub of information from the day its doors opened through the 20th century, and it continues to do so in the new millennium.