A new library

Miller explained to the school board that the library has outgrown its current building.

Parkland Community Library

“They want to build a new facility to serve the community of the three townships and the school district. The library is not able to do that given the current tax.”

The increased revenue will be used for the library’s $13-million expansion project. It plans to build a new 30,000-square library on 12 acres opposite Segan’s Bloomin’ Haus along Grange Road in Upper Macungie.

Siebert said the library leases that land from Upper Macungie for one dollar a year.

Library officials hope to break ground for construction next March. “That’s assuming we win the referendum,” said Siebert. He said if they don’t win the referendum in November, construction will be delayed and they will attempt get the question back on the ballot in the May primary. “Of course, our desire is to get it passed in November.”

Siebert said completion of the new library will take 12-14 months.

The current 5,500-square-foot library is along Walbert Avenue next to the township building in South Whitehall. Siebert said the library plans to keep that building open, possibly with reduced hours, after the new library is completed.

History

Parkland Community Library was established in the 1960s and incorporated in 1973 to serve residents of the three townships.

In its early years, the library had to seek annual operating funds from the townships and the school district, explained Miller.

He said in 1998, the library’s operators decided to pursue an alternative funding method, by establishing a special library tax that would be imposed directly on school district residents. Miller said that library also had to ask the school board to put it on the ballot back in ‘98.

Voters approved that tax in a referendum passed during the November 1998 election and it was collected for the first time in July 1999.

The solicitor said the library has been funded by that annual tax ever since 1999.