The annual fund drive is now under way at the Palmerton Area Library.

The library, located at 402 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, is supported by the Palmerton Area School District and the four municipalities that it serves, including Palmerton Borough, Bowmanstown Borough, Towamensing Township, and Lower Towamensing Township.

The library also receives some funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This year the state funding was cut by 20 percent. The library had to cut Wednesday evening hours and one staff position.

Even though the library receives funding from these sources, 60 percent of its money each year comes from donations from patrons and local residents. In the past four years the attendance at the Palmerton Area Library has doubled. The library has become a necessity to many local residents who are out of work and must search for jobs and benefits online. The computers at the library were used over 6,000 times in 2009.

The library needs the support of the public so that it can continue to provide programs, activities, new items for the collection, and computer services.

Fund drive brochures were mailed to all residents in the library's service area last week. Those who did not receive a flyer, may pick one up at the library or call (610) 826-3424 for more information. Donations can also be made online at www.palmertonarealibrary.com.

The greatest benefit donors will receive is the knowledge that they are helping the library to play a vital role as a community center. In a recent national survey, 75 percent of respondents strongly agreed that public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.

The Palmerton Area Library is open Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.