Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the last interview I had the opportunity to do face-to-face was 100 Women of Phoenixville with Dodi Shrunk. In the upcoming weeks, one of the 126 weekly interviews that were previously published will be shared with readers.
Mark Pinto is a familiar sight to patrons of the Phoenixville Public Library. He has been with the library for more than 20 years, now serving as the Director of Adult Services.
Originally from the Roxborough section of Philadelphia, he received an undergraduate degree from LaSalle University in communications. His first job was with radio station WFLN as the overnight weekend host. Mark discovered that this work did not pay the bills. He went onto Drexel University to receive a Master's in Library Science.
He has found a way to combine his communications background and his love of music. Each Saturday afternoon Mark hosts opera and classical music programs on radio station WRTI in Philadelphia, carrying on the tradition of his father, William Pinto, who hosted a popular musical program on WRTI in the 1950s. Mark also brings his cataloging expertise to bear in maintaining the station’s database of recordings.
In 1996 Mark and his wife, Donna, married, finally settling in Limerick. They met while attending a social event for Catholic singles in Philadelphia. Sparks flew with a mutual interest in music. For six years, Donna has been the organist/choir director at St. James United Church of Christ.
Outside the library, music is all-consuming for Mark. A pianist since the age of 7, Mark also sings and is a cantor at St. Eleanor’s Church in Collegeville and a tenor member of the choir. He sings with several choral groups in the area and volunteers with the Chester County Pops Orchestra. The Pintos make frequent trips to Philadelphia and are subscribers to the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Mark and Donna bowl on the same team. He has bowled several 300 games and a few 800 series over his lifetime. His brother Paul Pinto has been a professional bowler.
A little background on the Phoenixville Library — it started off in 1896 with a small collection of books as a private subscription library. It was in 1901 that Andrew Carnegie bestowed to the town a new building for a public library. This library has grown to have the third-largest circulating collection in Chester County. Trustees continue to continue support of the goals set down by Carnegie.
The Harrop meeting room in the library houses a complete collection of "Sports Illustrated" magazines (1954 to present) and "Sports Illustrated for Kids" (1989 to present). The magazines once belonged to Dr. Donald Harrop. Dr. Harrop found a home for them and special lock door shelving has been installed with glass doors to display.
With so many more things to do besides cooking Mark and Donna do list this recipe as a favorite of theirs.
12 oz. jar of apricot preserves
8 oz. bottle of Sweet & Sour Salad Dressing
8 oz. bottle red Russian Dressing
1 packet onion soup mix
4 to 8 boneless chicken breast halves
Combine all the ingredients together, except the chicken breast. Marinate the chicken overnight in the mixture. Place chicken breast in lightly greased baking pan. Cover with the sauce that it was marinated in. Bake uncovered in preheated 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with rice of your choice.
This article was originally published in Nov. 26, 2017. UPDATE — Mark has been included as a character in author June McInerney’s latest novel set in the library. This book is being dedicated to him. Under Mark’s guidance, the library has been reinventing itself online these days, hosting lectures and book club meetings through Zoom, making videos for YouTube, and posting fun activities to Facebook, among other things.