Community Family Government

LST Council to Discuss So. Lehigh Library Services Proposal at Special Meeting

SLPL Updated

Lower Saucon Township residents have been unable to access Southern Lehigh Public Library services and programs since Feb. 28, but that could change depending on the outcome of a special township council meeting that is now scheduled for Tuesday, April 4 at 6 p.m.

Est. Read Time: 3 mins

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the date of the meeting as April 6. The meeting is being held Tuesday, April 4.

Lower Saucon Township residents have been unable to access Southern Lehigh Public Library services and programs since Feb. 28, but that could change depending on the outcome of a special township council meeting that is now scheduled for Tuesday, April 4 at 6 p.m.

The meeting–which was announced Friday afternoon–will include a discussion about the Southern Lehigh Public Library’s Feb. 24 correspondence, “possible action on (a) SLPL offer to provide ‘limited’ library services” and “possible action on sending a proposal to SLPL for ‘full’ library services,” according to a township email and the meeting agenda.

At its Feb. 21 meeting, the Southern Lehigh Public Library board of directors voted 3-2 to halt services to township residents Feb. 28 and to approve a motion to present Lower Saucon officials with a proposal for a non-permanent library services agreement with a proposed price tag of $3,750 per month.

Conditions of the proposed agreement included:

  • No board representation for Lower Saucon Township.
  • Limiting library services to those that are solely owned by the Southern Lehigh Public Library.
  • Renewal on a month-to-month basis with an option for Southern Lehigh Public Library officials to terminate the agreement at any time, for any reason.
  • Payment in advance.
  • Automatic cancellation of the agreement if payment isn’t received on time.

The fact that Lower Saucon residents’ library cards would restrict them to using in-house resources probably wouldn’t enthuse township officials, board members acknowledged at the meeting, but they also expressed frustration over the amount of time the board has devoted to studying and discussing how or whether to offer library services to the township.

The discussion began more than a year ago, in January 2022, after Lower Saucon Township Council voted 4-1 to offer the Hellertown Area Library a $50,000 donation in lieu of adopting a new five-year library services agreement that had already been adopted by the Borough of Hellertown. The HAL board of trustees subsequently turned down the donation and received stop-gap funding from the borough, which later severed other partnerships it had maintained with the township after attempts to renegotiate a joint agreement failed.

Hellertown Area Library officials then petitioned the state’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries to remove Lower Saucon Township from their service area. The state approved the change at the end of last year, but township officials called foul, refusing to accept the decision and suing the OCL.

Meanwhile, unless they’ve purchased a library card from the Hellertown Area Library or another lending institution, most township residents currently have no public library access.

At the Feb. 21 SLPL board meeting, board members were advised by their solicitor that the lawsuit brought by Lower Saucon Township against the OCL had apparently been moved from state to federal court, although the reason for the change in jurisdiction wasn’t made clear.

“I’m just really frustrated with it,” said board member president Bruce Eames of the ongoing talks involving Lower Saucon Township. “I’ve been frustrated for 15 months.”

Board vice president Kat Moyer, who had attended a Feb. 3 meeting with Lower Saucon officials, said she was also disappointed with the state of affairs involving Lower Saucon.

“We’ve done so much work for these people and they’ve given nothing back,” she said, adding that her perception following that meeting was that township representatives were “very unimpressed” with the level of services SLPL was proposing to provide.

Both Eames and Moyer later voted against the motion to present the proposed non-permanent agreement to Lower Saucon, while board members John Schubert, Kathie Parsons–who represents Southern Lehigh School District–and Candi Kruse voted in favor of it.

Two seats on the seven-member SLPL board are currently vacant, including the seat reserved for a representative from Lower Milford Township and one of four of Upper Saucon Township’s seats.

Both municipalities have been vocal in telling the board that they want it to explore the possibility of an agreement with Lower Saucon Township for the potential funding opportunity it presents; a subject that was also touched upon at the Feb. 21 SLPL board meeting, when Kruse commented that a $50,000 donation SLPL received from Lower Saucon Township last year was a “saving grace” for the library’s budget. So far this year, SLPL is “in the red,” she added.

Referring to Lower Milford and Upper Saucon townships, Kruse said that two of the library’s three funding jurisdictions “would like us to consider this (agreement) heavily.”

“I don’t think this is going to go away,” she said.

Tuesday’s Lower Saucon Township Council meeting will be held at Lower Saucon Town Hall. The meeting agenda may be viewed here.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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