Library celebrates Pi Day with Pi(e) Day

Mar. 15—LAURELTON — Elaine Krick celebrated her 68th birthday at the West End Library on Thursday, not with cake, but with pie.

The library, at 45 Ballpark Road, Laurelton, hosted Pi(e) Day with varying flavors of pie to generate funds for the library. March 14, or 3.14, is also the first three digits of pi, an infinite mathematical constant.

"The last five years, I've been eating pie on my birthday," said Krick, of Mifflinburg. "I like pie better than cake anyway, so it's a win-win for me."

Krick came out to the library with Brenda Knouse, of Middleburg, and Knouse's 3-year-old granddaughter Alice. Krick said she usually bakes pies for herself, but learned the library was hosting this event.

"We're here celebrating Auntie Elaine's birthday on Pi Day," said Knouse. "It's good, its excellent, it's delicious. It's a great idea."

Judy McLain, the children's programming coordinator for the West End Library, said Pi(e) Day started in 2019.

"It's a little unique," she said. "People will come here, meet and have pie and coffee and visit with each other."

Most pies are homemade. Some are purchased from stores, she said.

Nearly 50 pies of varying flavors were donated this year. Types include cherry, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate, cheesecake, blueberry, shoofly, peanut butter, lemon sponge and meringue, whoopie and more.

The price was $2 a slice plus coffee, or $10 for a whole pie, said McLain.

The funds generated from this fundraiser are used to assist with the expenses for the adult and children's programs. Programming enables the community to experience and learn from knowledgeable presenters.

Pi is a mathematical constant that expresses the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It is part of many formulas used in physics, astronomy, engineering and other fields, dating back thousands of years to ancient Egypt, Babylon and China. Pi can calculate the circumference of a circle by measuring the diameter — the distance straight across the circle's middle — and multiplying that by the 3.14-plus number, according to The Associated Press.

It is considered a constant number and it is also infinite, meaning it is mathematically irrational. Long before computers, historic scientists such as Isaac Newton spent many hours calculating decimal places by hand. Today, using sophisticated computers, researchers have come up with trillions of digits for pi, but there is no end, according to The Associated Press.

Pi Day itself dates to 1988, when physicist Larry Shaw began celebrations at the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco. The holiday didn't really gain national recognition though until two decades later. In 2009, Congress designated every March 14 to be the big day — to hopefully spur more interest in math and science. Fittingly enough, the day is also Albert Einstein's birthday, according to The Associated Press.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.