The Panther Valley Public Library in Lansford is a diamond hidden in the heart of the Panther Valley.

It is filled with hundreds of books for all ages, computers with Internet connection, and a friendly staff comprised of volunteers.

Many know the library is there, but lack of funding almost forced this gem to close earlier this year.

But things have been changing for the better for the library.

Over the last few months, many area businesses and individuals have given their time and money to help keep this community asset open for business.

On Monday afternoon, members of the Carbon Schuylkill Industrial Development Corporation presented Marie Ondrus, president of the Panther Valley Public Library, with a check for $500 to help cover general expenses.

Bob Silver, director for the CSIDC and a member of the board of directors for the library, said that the library is in the midst of reorganizing and has plans that will help it continue to flourish for years to come.

Plans include utilizing more volunteers that have stepped forward to give their time and talent to the community; creating new programs and classes for children and adults; and offering events to get the senior citizens of the four towns that comprise the Panther Valley involved with the library.

Larry Marek, president of the CSIDC said that the organization gave the library the donation to help the community.

"We're trying to create an atmosphere here almost like Dimmick Memorial has in Jim Thorpe," he said, adding that he wants the residents to actively use the library on a regular basis.

Ondrus noted that the library will be hosting two upcoming programs that will appeal to all area residents.

On Dec. 16, a program on Christmas traditions is planned and on Dec. 19, the library will host an open house in conjunction with the Lansford Historical Society's Victorian Christmas.

"We want to be user-friendly for the Panther Valley community," Ondrus said.

She also said that the help from the community is greatly appreciated.

If you would like to donate time, money or books, or for more information on upcoming programs, contact the library at (570) 645-3780.

The Panther Valley Public Library, located in lower level of the former United Methodist Church at 117 E. Bertsch St., is open Monday, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 9 a.m. to noon and 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and Thursday, 5 to 8 p.m.