Visitors to Books on the Hill might be surprised when they don’t see what they typically expect from a library: an expansive building packed wall to wall with books and other resources. That’s because Books on the Hill is a stationary bookmobile parked at the corner of Stanley Avenue and Spiegel Street (near the borough’s Wawa).
The new library will be a part of the Bethlehem Area Public Library (BAPL) system. BAPL Executive Director Josh Berk explained how the system’s distinct new library wound up in Fountain Hill.
“It started when we saw the bookmobile for sale on the state library email list,” Berk said. “A library system in Bloomsburg was selling it for a bargain price because it didn’t run.”
That library system suggested that the 30-foot long bookmobile be used as a satellite location, and Berk and the BAPL staff were sold on the idea.
The library’s board of trustees then unanimously selected Fountain Hill as the permanent location of the future library.
The bookmobile was acquired five years ago, and planners from the BAPL and Fountain Hill have been working hard ever since to bring Books on the Hill to life.
“It would have been a reality much sooner, but COVID-19 hit and as happened to so much of the world, all progress came to a halt,” said Annamarie Jordan who serves on the BAPL board of trustees and is a Fountain Hill Borough Councilwoman.
“It really did take a village (or a borough in this case) to make it happen,” Jordan continued. “Past and present borough council members who have supported our ongoing partnership with BAPL have always been a crucial part of this success story.”
Jordan also thanked the borough’s public works department for their tireless work making improvements to the library’s location, and ensuring Books on the Hill is a safe and accessible destination for the community.
The library officially celebrated its opening on Oct. 2 with a community event featuring a fire engine from the Fountain Hill Fire Company, and pizza and empanadas courtesy of local chef and Fountain Hill Borough Councilman Will Rufe.
Visitors stopped by to browse the contents of the library, which has enough built-in shelving to house thousands of books and other library items.
Community members also admired the appearance of the bookmobile, which is adorned with a colorful paint job by the acclaimed children’s book author Zachariah Ohara.
Bringing a permanent library to Fountain Hill has been a lifelong dream for Jordan, who has been a book lover all her life.
“It’s always amazing to see dreams come true,” she said.
“I don’t really know of anything like it in Pennsylvania libraries,” Berk said. “It’s innovative and it’s exciting and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”
Books on the Hill’s hours are:
- Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Wednesday Closed
- Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Alternating Friday/Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Books on the Hill is hosting a family story time event on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 10:30 a.m.