Members of the Saucon Valley Library Task Force discussed increasing public input at their Nov. 10 meeting, and began planning a public meeting and a survey to be mailed to residents of the Saucon Valley School District. The survey will ask for opinions and information regarding the potential merging of Lower Saucon Township with the Hellertown Area Library.
Lower Saucon Township Manager Jack Cahalan presented the ideas for discussion, after reminding task force members that “our target goal was to have something to present to the (Lower Saucon Township) council by summer, by July."
"A couple of things we discussed doing, number one would be a written report that we could present to the council, the library trustees and to the public, and the second thing would be a public meeting--we could do that midway between getting done or after we've completed," Cahalan said. "It could be to gather information or to present our findings.”
Task force member Jessica Goedtel suggested that both a written report and a public meeting would be beneficial, and other members agreed that having both options would help to increase communication with the public. The public meeting is tentatively being planned for March.
Cahalan said he would speak with Lower Saucon Township council members about mailing a survey and supporting the costs of that initiative.
In other business, task force member Lynn Koehler noted her inability to make many of the meetings due to their scheduled 5pm start time, and suggested having an alternate member stand in for her when she is unable to attend. She also suggested the idea of having an official representative of the Bethlehem Area Public Library present at meetings.
“I think having another person here would help the image and perception that this is an objective task force, and just help provide information about the two libraries. The district librarian would be able to give specific information,” she said.
Both of these ideas were unanimously approved, with Allan Johnson being selected as the alternate for Koehler. However, Cahalan pointed out that everyone on the task force was appointed and the district librarian was not. He would therefore be considered an ad-hoc member and be present for the purpose of providing information and answering questions, and not as a task force member.
Also present at the meeting was Diana Megdad, Public Library Liaison, who works with Jim Hollinger (Division Chief of Library Improvement from Pennsylvania’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries), who spoke at the task force's October meeting.
“We're very interested in what's going on, and we want to make sure we are here to answer any questions,” Megdad said.
The next task force meeting will be at 5pm on Thursday, Dec. 8 in Lower Saucon Town Hall.