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'This is not your Grandma's library' at Palmerton Historical Society

  • 20090924-135600-pic-22832351.jpg
    The new logo for the Palmerton Area Library proclaims the library provides An Endless Shelf of Possibilities.
Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

Diane Danielson, director of the Palmerton Library, gave a presentation about the various programs in the library at the Sept. 14 meeting of the Palmerton Area Historical Society.

She said the library had its beginnings in the Neighborhood House in 1911.

It was paid for through citizen donations. Originally there were 1,600 books and that number increasd to 3,500. Today there are 35,000 books.

For years, until 1951, the zinc company provided the bulk of the support.

After that the borough provided $1,500 a year.

Naomi Snyder began the story hours in 1948, the same year the bookmobiles began offering service in rural areas.

The library serves the four municipalities and the school district. Marge Geiger took out the first library card.

When the First National Bank moved to new quarters, the library expanded again into the bank building.

The dedication was held Sept. 8, 1974.

When Danielson showed pictures from the dedication, society members recognized many of them.

One man they recognized walked regularly to the library from Bowmanstown.

People could listen to records using headphones.

The internal expansion of the library, known as Project Innerspace, took place in 2001-2002.

An elevator and mezzanine were added and the basement was cleaned up and made into usable space.

There are books for sale and reference books in the basement.

Residents Roy Christman and George Ashman organized the reference materials.

A section of the basement is being dedicated to teen projects.

All the books had to be cleaned before they could be placed on the new shelves even though they had been covered during renovations.

Danielson said the mezzanine with its shelves for additional books looks like it has always been there.

The Concourse Club and New Jersey Zinc donated six computers for public use. They receive heavy usage.

On the second floor is a conference room, the Dr. Richard Williams Conference Room, and the Knights Gallery which is available for meetings such as the historical society and for frequent art shows.

At the summer reading program Al Thompson presented programs about Indians, drum circles are held and crafts are made in addition to reading.

Amber Getz built the "animal" chairs in the children's library. Girl Scouts painted murals on the walls.

A Web site opens most of the library to customers from their homes -

It includes a history of the library, a calendar of events, downloadable audio books, e-books, a teen-advisory section for grades 7-12, photo gallery and Friends of the Library.

Renewals of books can be done online.

A Halloween party is held for younger children with a play presented.

For the play, action takes place on the main floor and the audience is on the mezzanine.

The card catalog is electronic. A hold can be placed on a book that is out of the library at the time.

The Power Library through the ACCESS program allows Palmerton to get books from the state library and the Allentown district library.

The state is considering closing the programs.

There has been a 25 percent increase in users the past year.

Sixty percent of funding is raised locally with 40 percent coming from the state, schools and municipalities.

In society business: Lighting has been added at the handicap entrance to the Little White Church.

Carpet has been replaced in the altar area.

Bob Borgia will add a new bathroom door so it will open over the new tiles on the door.

The bases in the cemetery have been restored for the three gravestones that were vandalized. The stones should be reset before winter.

Secretary Betsy Burnhauser reminded everyone that the 20th anniversary of the historical society is coming up as well as the fifth year for the Heritage Center.

She wants suggestions as to how the events can be celebrated.

The center will be open on Sunday, Sept. 27, 1 to 3 p.m., on an experimental basis to see if it is more convenient for visitors.

Borbe presented a petition to be signed requesting a showing of the quilts at the state museum that are merely being preserved and never displayed.

Danielson said there will be a quilt show at the library on Oct. 11.

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