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Meet your library: Slatington Public Library

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    ABOVE: The Slatington Library is located in the former Miller’s 5 & 10 on Main Street.
    BELOW: Rosanne Pugh, left, director, and Louise Bechtel, staff the Slatington Library. Board members help out as needed. STACEY SOLT/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

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Published April 16. 2018 01:24PM

Located in the downtown historic district, the Slatington Public Library has been serving the Northern Lehigh area for more than 80 years.

The Slatington Public Library’s current building, located at 650 Main St., is the former Miller’s 5 & 10 store. The library features the store’s original architecture and tin ceiling, carefully restored by volunteers from the community in 1985. The building was dedicated and opened to the public in 1987.

“We’ve moved a few times over the years,” said library Director Rosanne Pugh.

She noted that the library’s last location was the town’s old post office, located one block away from its current building. The library moved to the old post office when it was officially incorporated in 1962.

The predecessor to the library that we know today, the Salem Welsh Presbyterian Church’s Ladies’ Bible Group, began a library in 1936 with just 50 books — but had grown large enough to donate 2,000 books to the community’s public library less than 30 years later.

Today, the library’s public space is located on the main floor of what used to be the retail store. The main level features an open book and display area, a children’s play corner with toys and scheduled story times and a small meeting space.

The library is staffed by two employees, Pugh and Louise Bechtel; board members also work at the library when necessary.

“It’s just the two of us, so everyone knows us. We say that it’s like ‘Cheers,’” Bechtel said, pausing to greet a patron by name as she walked in the door.

“We’re good listeners,” said Pugh, who added that sometimes it’s helpful to get a different perspective if you’re trying to solve a problem or find something.

“People say that librarians know anything. That’s not true. We do know how to find almost anything though.”

The center of the library’s open floor plan is dedicated to a large computer workstation.

“We have 11 PCs, three Apples, and two computers to search the catalog,” said Pugh, who added that each computer has access to a printer and scanner. “You don’t have to fight over computer time.”

These computers and desks and chairs were originally purchased through a grant by Jenny’s Heroes. Slatington police officer Daniel Buglio applied for the grant in 2008, asking for a computer lab to help Slatington residents and children who do not have or could not afford a computer to have access to one. More recent technology upgrades were done through a Trexler Trust fund grant.

Children use the computers to do school work and research, and connect with friends online. Adults frequently visit the library to apply for jobs or public assistance, and complete basic online tasks such as vehicle registration. The library also sees a surge in computer use during tax season, when patrons find forms or file their taxes online.

“If you want to apply for a job, you’ve got to apply online,” said Pugh.

The Slatington Public Library also offers free Wi-Fi and a joint media catalog with Lehighton, Palmerton and Jim Thorpe, allowing patrons to search for a book, audio book or DVD within any of the four libraries’ collections.

Slatington is part of the state’s interlibrary loan program, offering access to almost any book, and also offering online databases such as Power Library, Rosetta Stone, Chilton Library and LawDepot; and Ancestry and HeritageQuest.

Cardholders in each Carbon or Lehigh library can download free books and magazines from the Carbon Lehigh Downloadable Library and Zinio.

Upcoming events at the Slatington Library include an art show featuring local student and adult artwork at 7 p.m. April 23.

The library hosts various programs throughout the month, including a regular lecture series featuring topics like health and local history. The Lehigh Nature Gap also offers a summer program called the “Wonderful World of Wildlife” at the Slatington library.

The library has an ongoing book sale. Buyers can purchase one hardcover book for $1, or a paperback for 50 cents — or fill a bag with books for $5.

The Slatington Public Library has an opening for a board member who is a Slatington resident, and is also forming a Friends of the Library. The Friends’ purpose will be to raise funds for and generally support the library. The next organizational meeting will be at 6 p.m. June 11.

“Everyone is welcome to come,” said Pugh. “They’re still in the organizational stages.”

The library is also preparing to send out its annual mailing and fundraising drive. The Slatington library relies heavily on the support of their community to remain open and able to serve that community.

The Slatington Public Library is located at 650 Main St. in Slatington. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays; and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information, contact the library at 610-767-6461 or slatlib@ptd.net, or visit www.slatelibrary.com.

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