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  • Peter Herzer

Opinion: Putting the "Lie" in Library

This opinion piece was submitted by a resident of Lower Saucon Township.

reader-opinion-header

Most recently, an editorial angrily proclaimed that LST [Lower Saucon Township] residents are being denied access to a community meeting place, computer access for those who don’t have it, book clubs, story hours, AARP tax guides, genealogy records, and yoga classes, among a host of other things, because LST won’t pay the bill for the Hellertown Area Library (HAL), what is now essentially another community’s library. Worse, the title screams the end of the world: “Lower Saucon Can’t ‘Pretend’ to Have an Excellent School District” Without a Home Library.”


There are some whoppers here:

  • LST will underwrite memberships to HAL for any resident who wishes to have a membership to Hellertown Area Library (HAL) or any other library, so library access to residents is denied by HAL’s monetary requests, not by LST’s support of its residents.

  • LST residents with HAL memberships will have access to all the community amenities such as programs and clubs, so access to playdates and the like is protected. These do not go away if you have a membership.

  • LST residents with HAL memberships will not be permitted to use PA ACCESS, the interlibrary loan service. This is true, but any LST resident who needs PA ACCESS can get it by joining the Easton Area Public Library. It is not as if the resource is gone forever because LST won’t pay open-ended yearly payments to HAL. Any resident in Pennsylvania who does not have a home library can go to his/her District Center (a library determined by residence within a county) and get PA ACCESS through it.

  • The biggest fiction, however, is the assertion that “Lower Saucon Can’t ‘Pretend’ to Have an Excellent School District” Without a Home Library.” It suggests that because children who live in LST are excluded from PA ACCESS, the academic quality of the Saucon Valley School District education will suffer irreparable damage.

The gaping flaw in that logic is that the Saucon Valley School District Libraries offer PA ACCESS to all district students as one of a vast array of tools. Students are far more likely to get interlibrary loan materials via PA ACCESS from the school library than from HAL. Despite the premise to the opposite, the availability of PA ACCESS at HAL is virtually completely irrelevant to how well students will do in their academics.


These assertions are presented in the editorial as if they were truths etched in a Biblical tablet. Getting to the basic truth of the matter is easy if you are willing to do a little research. All the information used in these corrections is easily verified in official public records at the state, county, and local levels, and they are not the disingenuous components of a political narrative designed to trick you to vote a certain way.


Hence it is easy to see how the situation with LST and HAL got to this point. HAL demands that LST pay a disproportionate amount of the expenses at a progressive, per capita rate (that includes neither fiscal projections nor defined maximum amounts) over a five-year period and, at the same time, will not give LST representation on the library board.


Considering the lopsided demands of the library partnership and that LST is committed to building new library resources to serve its residents at a reasonable cost to them, it becomes evident that moving forward with HAL is not good for LST.


Publication of this opinion piece should not be construed as an endorsement by Saucon Voice of the views expressed. We encourage all readers to consider multiple sources and perspectives when forming their own opinions. Anyone is welcomed to submit content for publication. Visit our Contact page to submit something.

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