After 30 years of working at the Palmerton Area Library, Dorothy Strohl is retiring.

But while she will no longer grace the building as an employee, library patrons and Strohl's friends and family have assured that she will be remembered fondly. They recently dedicated a lounge and coffee bar named "The Strohl In" in her honor.

Last week's ribbon cutting and party in the lounge had two purposes. It was a time to celebrate the grand opening of the lounge and allow patrons to see the new space. It was also a retirement party for Strohl, and a chance for patrons, families and friends to wish her luck. The lounge was filled with well-wishers shortly after it officially opened.

"We are going to miss her. She always has a smile on her face," said Diane Danielson, director of the Palmerton Area Library. "This was a perfect tribute to Dorothy."

"There are so many people who grew up with her at the library," added Mariann Kmetz, assistant director, as she watched patrons and board members file into the lounge.

The new lounge features a couch, arm chairs, and a circular table near several outlets with ample space and wireless Internet access for laptop users. The library is a PenTeleData Wi-Fi hot spot and offers free wireless Internet service to all Prolog customers. Patrons can also enjoy coffee, tea or hot chocolate with the library's new Keurig single-cup coffee maker. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate K-cups are available for $1 at the library's main desk.

The idea for a lounge began with patron requests.

"People were asking for a place to use their laptops and a place to relax and read," said Danielson. "This gives a more out of the way place for people to sit and relax," she added, noting that the lounge stands in a low-traffic area overlooking the main library floor.

Danielson's hope is that the new lounge will encourage patrons of all ages to spend more time in the library, a centerpiece of the Palmerton community.

"We found that more and more people are using the library as a social meeting place," she said. Many adults and teenagers were requesting space to use laptops and other electronic devices, outlets to power these devices, or a quiet space to read and talk while meeting with friends.

"Everyone knows that we have a beautiful building. We thought that this would make better use of the building," she said.

The Strohl In was made possible by the contributions of First Northern Bank and Trust, Concourse Club, Friends of the Palmerton Area Library, Third Monday Book Club, George Ashman, Palmerton Area Democratic Club, Lois P. Bayern, and First Niagara Bank.

Strohl's last day at the library will be Thursday, April 5. This is the 30th anniversary of her first day as a Palmerton Area Library employee.