SIDNEY — Some people look at the sign and wonder, “Who is Peter Pense?” The building is a religious library, loaning books, movies, and magazines to the public. Peter refers to Peter in the Bible and the first pope of the Catholic church. Pense is a French word meaning “thought.”
The library first opened on the square in 1989 in the Monumental Building and later moved from its original location down the street, past the post office.
“The veteran’s organization wanted the rest of the building. It was vacant then, but they wanted it for the room honoring veterans that is there now. We moved down the street some little ways, but when this (104 E. Poplar St.) came open, we thought it was worth looking into. There’s a lot more foot traffic. In the other building people could find us but they had to make an effort. This brings us into the public square,” said Mary Schmiesing.
Peter’s Pense was begun by Marianne Wagner who had an extensive collection of religious books. Wagner felt those resources should be available to anyone who wanted to learn more about Catholicism. Wagner passed away in 1999.
“She (Wagner) along with several other families began collecting books that were particularly relevant to people who are searching for the magisterial teaching of the church, which is the authentic teaching of the church. She also had quite a collection of books, and at the beginning, wrote many letters to find the bookcases we still use, funding, a place for the library, and she got us incorporated. She was also here almost every day. She even set up a system for classifying the books. She was quite a woman,” said Schmiesing.
Schmiesing has been with the library since the beginning and continues to pour much of her time and talents into keeping it organized, stocked, and welcoming. Several volunteers also help to keep things running.
“I’ve stayed involved (with Peter’s Pense) because this place has been a huge part of my personal spiritual journey. There have been a lot of very good people who have been the base from which we operate,” said Schmiesing.
Peter’s Pense has many books, family friendly videos, and magazines available. They also make it easy for the public to access these resources. Anyone can get a lending card. They are not only for those of the Catholic faith.
“It is simple to become a borrower at Peter’s Pense library. There is no red tape, and the service is free. An application enables you to borrow materials immediately. Once the application is completed, you will be issued an identification card. This card enables you to borrow materials and must be used each time you borrow. A 50 cents charge is made for replacing lost cards, but there is no initial fee. Children under 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when applying for a library card. They must have their application cards signed by a parent as an indication that their parents know they are borrowing books. All materials may be borrowed for 14 days, unless otherwise noted,” states the website.
There is a nominal late fee of $1 per day for DVD, VHS, and CD material. All other materials are subject to a 25 cents per day late fee.
The library loans several books by local authors. Just a couple of the local authors are Joe Martino, of Sidney, and Henry Cordonnier, of Russia.
“We want to thank all of those who got us here. We want to express our appreciation to all the people who helped us move, the volunteers and the patrons and the families. They got us here. It was quite an endeavor,” said Schmiesing.
The library is open at 104 E. Poplar St. on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Peter’s Pense is closed Sunday, Monday, and on holidays and Holy Days.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.