Palmerton Area School District has been asked to maintain funding to its local learning institution.

Diane Danielson, director of the Palmerton Area Library, approached the school board on Tuesday to ask that it continue to give financial support to the institution.

Danielson noted that last year, there were 12,977 visits by students to the library.

"These visits were mostly after school, evenings and Saturdays, when the students do not have access to school libraries," Danielson said. "These students were doing homework, looking for books for book reports and school assignments, and using our computers."

Also last year, Danielson said 8,108 people used the library's computers.

"Many of these patrons were students working on reports and other assignments required by the school district," she said. "With the downturn in the economy, many families no longer have Internet connections at home, and are relying on the library for all their computer use."

Danielson then spoke of several programs at the library, such as the six-week Summer Reading program; preschool story hour every Friday morning during the school year; tours of the library for students in the month of May; the Tail Waggin' Tutors program; Homework Helpers every Wednesday after school during the school year; and a yearly series of free Tuesday workshops.

The theme for National Library Week 2012 is "The Heart of Every Community", Danielson said.

"This describes our library perfectly," she said. "We try to listen to the community and our patrons and respond to their needs."

At present, Danielson said the library is working on a project to create a needed space for study and laptop use. The new area is being funded with private donations in honor of longtime library employee Dorothy Strohl, whom Danielson said will retire after 30 years of service.

Lastly, Danielson told the board the library's state funding has been cut by 30-percent in the past three years, along with a decrease in funding from other sources.

In order to receive funding, Danielson said the library is mandated by the state on how many hours it must be open, how much it must spend on books, and how many staff hours it must pay for.

"No state funds for a library will be approved if it projects a decrease in local government support for normal, recurring, operating costs from a previous level," she said. "If we don't reach the $5 per capita goal from money donated by the school district, the four supporting municipalities, and private donations, we could lose all state funding."

As a result, Danielson told the board it's essential that they continue to fund the library at the same rate.

"We are asking today that you maintain funding for the library at the same level as last year," she said. "The $16,000 that we received last year is close to eight-percent of our total budget, so it is vital to the life of the Palmerton Area Library."

Also on Tuesday, the board heard from senior Aaron Cook, who was recently the recipient of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Lehigh Valley Chapter Scholar-Athlete Award.

Cook thanked the district for its support, as well as the athletic programs and coaching staffs, his teachers, and parents, for teaching him important life lessons.

"Thank you to all those on the board," Cook said. "I hope to see everyone have the same opportunities I have."

In an unrelated matter, the board heard a presentation from Debra Demyanovich, director of human resources, on the hiring process in the district.

In other business, the board:

Ÿ Hired Dianne Smelas as full-time high school secretary, with an annual salary of $28,377, according to the negotiated support contract, effective July 1, 2012.

Ÿ Reinstated furloughed Instructional Assistant Darlene Dugan, effective March 21, 2012.

Ÿ Approved a resolution concerning conduct at athletic events.

Ÿ Approved the termination of employee #2108, effective March 12, 2012.

Ÿ Approved change order #001 for the Athletic Field Bleacher project by CMG of Easton. The contract sum will be increased by this change order in the amount of $1,722, and the new contract sum including this change order will be $775,722.

Ÿ Awarded the 2012-13 fall sports/athletic medical bids in the amount of $11,048.

Ÿ Approved the Trans-Bridge Lines, Inc., Bus Transportation Service Contract for the PHS National Honor Society and Gifted Program's field trip to Washington, D.C., on May 3, 2012.

Ÿ Approved, retroactive to March 5, 2012, the LaRose's Roller Skating Rink Lease Agreement for the Student Council's Jr. High skating night party on April 3, 2012.

Ÿ Approved, retroactive to March 1, 2012, the Perkiomen Tours & Travel Bus Transportation Contract for the National Junior Honor Society field trip to NYC on May 17, 2012.

Ÿ Agreed to authorize the superintendent to dispose of 2,988 old packs of crayons.