The Panther Valley Library, which in 2003 brought new life to the former Lansford United Methodist Church, is now struggling for its own life.

The library, housed in the former red brick church at 117 E. Bertsch St., was closed last Wednesday until board members can rally the money and volunteers they need to reopen.

"We're hoping to try to get it opened again," said Assistant Director Bridget Cannon. "We're going to need support – financial and volunteer."

The library had been open for evening hours only for the past couple of months.

"We were trying to cut down on spending and plan fund raisers," Cannon said.

Patrons who have books out are asked to hold on to them until further notice. The library board was planning to install a book-drop, but the plans had not been finalized when the doors were locked.

Cannon and her colleagues will be meeting for brainstorming sessions to find a way to reopen the library, which is the only public library in Lansford, Summit Hill, Nesquehoning and Coaldale.

"Everybody would love to have the library open, but especially the kids who don't have computers at home and need them for their homework, Cannon said. "That's where most of my concern is, for them."

Anyone who is willing to offer time and/or money is asked to call Cannon at (570) 645-8529.

The library took root in the former church in 1999, just as it would have celebrated its 100th anniversary. It had stood empty for 18 months; its congregation having dwindled to the point where it could no longer support the building.

The Lansford Historical Society – which had bought the church for $1 – and the Panther Valley Renaissance Library Committee toured it to see what it would take to turn the then-unheated building into a warm, cozy, book-filled community library.

Their dream came alive when the Panther Valley Library opened its arched, red-painted doors in 2003.

The going wasn't always easy: funding was sketchy. And in 2006, the library hit a major snag when its then-director, Nancy Pascoe, moved away.

Most recently, the library has been led by former Tamaqua librarian Debi Dodson.

With the Panther Valley Library closed indefinitely, those seeking to borrow books or use library computers must travel to the Tamaqua Public Library or the Dimmick Memorial Library in Jim Thorpe.