Since losing a ballot question in November that would have helped pay for a new facility, the Parkland Community Library board of directors has been analyzing election results and planning its next move.
The board has not given up on its goal of building a new library on Grange Road in Upper Macungie Township, though how it plans to get there remains unclear.
The possibilities include changing the size and scope of the project to curtail the anticipated $13 million cost to build, according to library Executive Director Debbie Jack.
They also include going back to the voters and, once again, asking for additional funding, she said. The board is mulling its options and will likely make some kind of decision in the spring, Jack said.
On Friday, the board sent out its first news release since the referendum defeat saying it is “setting a new course.”
“We are in the process of determining what needs to change in order for a new library to become a reality,” Karl Siebert, president of the board of directors, said in the release.
Siebert and other library supporters continue to argue that the library has outgrown its current space on Walbert Avenue, next door to the South Whitehall Township municipal building.
In the second largest community in Lehigh County, Parkland has the smallest library and the least amount of lending materials per capita of any local library, Siebert said. A lack of space forces the Parkland Community Library to keep more than 7,000 of its books in storage rather than on the shelves in circulation.
By a margin of 59-41 percent, voters in the Parkland School District rejected an increase of .1978 mills for a new building. Taxpayers continue to pay .1 mills in library tax. An increase would have increased the library tax on the average homeowner—with a property assessed at $221,000 by $44 a year.
The additional tax would have paid for a $9 million loan to help build the new library—which was estimated to cost $13 million. The library has already set aside about $4 million for the project.
An analysis of the ballot results showed that voters in Upper Macungie Township and in the Allentown portion of the Parkland School District voted in favor of the increase, the library news release said.
Meanwhile, 58 percent of voters in South Whitehall Township and 73 percent of voters in North Whitehall Township rejected the question.