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Parkland Community Library | 4422 Walbert Avenue | Allentown, PA 18104 | Phone: 610-398-1361 | Fax: 610-398-3538
Hours: Monday - Thursday 10am - 9pm | Friday & Saturday 10am - 5pm | Summer Hours, same except Saturday 10am -2pm
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Townships & Parkland School DistrictClick Here For PSD
The Parkland Community Library Board of Directors is considering how to proceed based on the outcome of the November 2013 Referendum to build a new library facility. The general consensus of the community is that the library is too small and outdated. The issues that have come up that we would like to address are:
* Increase in library tax
* I have the internet, don’t need a library
* Transparency of library funds & operation
* New building too big
Groundbreaking was slated for March 2014 if the public voted yes to fund the new building.
The Library Board of Directors is considering their next step in bringing a much needed larger facility to the community.
In 1999, the Parkland Community Library Board of Directors originally planned to expand the current location. After preliminary discussions, they were told:
* The current building was not able to be expanded either out toward Walbert Avenue or up to create a 2- or 3-story structure within the existing library
* The parking lot is not expandable, with the entire library property locked in by the SWT Administration operations, Walbert Avenue to the north and Zator Law Offices to the east. It currently has 1 space for every 1,000 residents, which means only 50 cars can park at any given time.
After considering more than 30 different sites in North Whitehall and South Whitehall, Upper Macungie Township elected officials presented land that could be leased for $1 a year for 50 years.
It is a 12-acre location at 354 Grange Road, just south of the Ruppsville Road intersection in Upper Macungie Township.
The decision to lease this land was not made lightly and only after more than 30 other sites were deemed unsuitable, unavailable or cost prohibitive.
Increase in library tax
For the first time since 1998, The Parkland Community Library Board of Directors brought the question to the voters to increase the millage rate for building a larger library. This was only after fundraising, grant seeking and foundation requests in the Lehigh Valley and beyond were exhausted, much of the fundraising results were less than planned due to the weak economy. The total cost of the project is $13M.
The good news is that approximately $3 million has been saved from individual and corporate donations, and money saved since 1998 annually from frugal allocation of patron tax moneys. The library planned to finance the remaining $10 million from a bank note that would be paid over a 20- year period.
The referendum question asked voters to increase the library millage rate from .1 to .2978 to cover the 20-year bank note. For every $100,000 your home is worth, you would have paid $29.78. This is a separate tax and not part of Parkland School District taxes. Everyone would pay a different amount because it is based on your home value.
Calculate your library tax at the new rate
To determine your home value go to the Lehigh County Real Estate Assessment page at:
Multiply your personal house assessment by .0002978.
This is the amount you would pay annually for a new library and continued services.
If you need help accessing this information, please ask a librarian to help you.
Why the Lawsuit with the Parkland School District?
The legal action with the Parkland School District was necessary to resolve conflicting legal approaches resulting from the Lehigh County Reassessment. We were one of only two counties in the state who had undergone a reassessment and the law and experience was unclear as to the rules surrounding the library millage rate.
I have the internet, don’t need a library
Although having the Internet is good tool, not all residents have access to it. Libraries will always be relevant because, among other things, Parkland Community Library has professional librarians who differentiate between reputable and non-reputable online information. There is no quality control on content furnished by the Internet. Libraries play a number of critical roles in society, including:
* being the one organization in the community that serves every demographic
* offering high-quality, fee-only research databases, for free;
* introducing the world of reading to youngsters;
* providing individual and group study space for youngsters, teens and adults;
* affording patrons a real book, an online book, a DVD, etc., without having to purchase them;
* serving those individuals without access to the Internet, from the unemployed to the elderly;
* offering a quiet place to relax and read;
* making available a venue for the community to gather for informational, cultural and educational workshops;
* dedicated to increasing literacy amongst immigrant populations
Transparency of library funds & operation
The Parkland Community Library Board of Directors has always understood its responsibility to the public to be transparent. As a community library, funded primarily with local tax dollars, the PCL Board of Directors recognizes the need to be more transparent about informing Parkland residents on where financial resources are being deployed.
In 2013, a concerted effort has been made to do just that. The much improved PCL website is once again going to carry more data on financial statements, and board meeting minutes. It now also has news releases and subsequent news clips posted on important matters. An annual report will be ready for public consumption at the beginning of 2014, the first one printed and posted online since the Great Recession. For more information, please go to:
Also, www.newPCL.com was created for all news and information related to the new building project.
New building too big
The current library was built in 1981 with donations made to the library. The community was able to afford a 5,400 square foot building, so that is what was built.
When the library board asked a Library Consultant what size building the Parkland community should have for the amount of people that live here, we were told we would need a 40,000 square foot building, but we could begin with 30,000 and expand to 40,000 when needed.
The building we want to build may appear to be too big but it really isn’t.
Some people have questioned, “Why meeting rooms or a café?”
Specific rooms, dedicated to various ages/populations as part of the library design, are necessary for the library to offer programming for children, teens and adults and to accommodate other community needs. A community space for anyone in the community to use is part of the original design.
The café was added because libraries have begun adding them to encourage people to stay in the library. The café design is 500 square feet of space that would be run by an outside experienced café operator and be a way for the library to make money. It is a space that was added because the Parkland community requested it when asked what they wanted to see in their library.
How will residents of North Whitehall be served since they live furthest from the location of the new library?
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