About the Emmaus Public Library
The Friends of the Emmaus Public Library sponsor many activities, including the Annual Book Sale.
Click the header to learn more about their mission, activities and membership information.
The following information
will help acquaint you with the most important rules and
regulations pertaining to materials circulation. In order
to serve every patron fairly and as best we can, it is necessary for
the library to enforce these regulations consistently. If you
have any questions regarding them, our staff will be happy to
CHECK-OUT: A library card is required at all times for check-out. A single receipt is given to each patron with the borrowed items listed, showing the due date and title of each item.
BORROWING TIME: Most items circulate for a three-week period. Videos, holiday books, and periodicals (current editions do not circulate) circulate for one week. There is a section in the library reading room containing new adult books that circulate for 14 days.
LIMITS: During check-out, some items are limited to 5 per library card--14-day books and Christmas books. Other limits are: 2 holiday books.
RENEWALS:Items may be renewed at the library with the item(s) and your library card, or by telephone--call the library at 610-965-2272 (10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon-Sat). Please have your library card and materials to be renewed on hand. Items reserved by another patron may not be renewed. Holiday books may not be renewed. You may also renew on-line using your library card number and PIN number.
OVERDUE FINES:Overdue fines are charged on materials returned past their due date at the rate of 15 cents per day per item. Videos and audio books are 50 cents per item per day. Lost items are assessed at the cost of the item plus a $3.00 service charge.
RESERVES: Any item in the library except videos may be reserved. There is a 25-cent fee charge per item for tracking, holding, and notifying patron when it is ready for pickup. Items may be reserved in person at the library, by telephone at 610-965-9284, or through this website by clicking on the "Catalog" link at the top of the page.
VIDEOS: Videos may be checked out for 7 days. There is a 50-cent rental charge for VHS and $1.00 for DVD, except those with blue stickers which are free.
OTHER CHARGES:Charges for damages will be assessed for each item that requires repair or replacement. This includes damages to barcodes, plastic cases, tapes, books, and any other part of a library item.
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The Emmaus Public Library has a number of programs and activities just for children available at various times during the year. All of these are publicized in the local newspapers well in advance--most require pre-registration. Be sure to look for flyers with pertinent information about the events displayed at the library. Also, please see our Coming Events page for more specific events, dates, and times posted monthly.
All questions on the children's programs may be directed to librarians by calling the library at 610-965-9284, or by coming to the library front desk.
Story hours are held for various ages during the year, October through May. Come to the library for brochures beginning in September and watch the local newspapers for announcements. This website will also have the appropriate information at that time.
A summer reading club is available for children entering Kindergarten - Grade 7. Details will be available in late May. The reading club begins in June and runs until August, at which time there is a closing program to recognize the readers and award certificates and prizes.
Literary Lunch is a read-and-discuss program for upper elementary, middle school, and high school students. The Friends of the Emmaus Public Library provide the paperbacks to be read and discussed. The youngsters pack a brown bag lunch (beverage and dessert provided by the library). It is offered in the summer months and occasionally at other times. Watch for announcements in local newspapers or at the library. Pre-registration is a must.
Special programs, such as Sleepy-time Story Time, Family Story Time, Drop-in Story Time, and Teen Night for children and adults are held occasionally at the library. Family Game Nights are also held. Some of these are sponsored by the Friends. These events are announced at the library via flyers, in local newspapers, and on this website. Some are also announced via flyers that are distributed by the East Penn schools and sent home with the children during the school year.
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The Emmaus Public Library serves the municipalities of Emmaus, Macungie, and Upper Milford Township. It is governed by a policy statement formulated and adopted by a Board of Trustees who meet regularly at the library. Board meetings are open to the public. The current Trustees of the Board are:
- Jeannette Lehman, President
- Richard D. Brooks, Ph.D., Vice president
- Janie Slamon, Esq., Secretary
- Jean Nagle, Treasurer
- Lucy Ackerman
- Adam Bean
- Carl Gingrich
- Mary Horkowitz
- Dorothy Nicholas
The history of the Emmaus Public Library had its beginnings in the 1930s, when the officers and members of the Emmaus High School Alumni Association recognized the need for a public library facility. In 1938, John D. Weaver donated a building on Main Street in downtown Emmaus for that purpose. Since it had to be refurbished for library use, it was not ready until June, 1944 (another building was rented to house the library until that time).
A library board was appointed in 1939, and Dr. Gerald S. Backenstoe became the first president. The new library proved to be a big success in the little borough--by 1949, book circulation had increased to an average of 1,900 per month.
By the mid 1960s, the book collection numbered about 8,000 volumes. Space in the once spacious Main Street building was no longer adequate. The borough population had more than doubled since the library had become a reality. After many citizens devoted countless hours of time and effort to plan for the future of the library, a new program was put into effect. An ordinance was enacted that called for the establishment of a borough library which conformed to the Pennsylvania State Library Code. In April, 1965, federal funds became available, resulting in the construction of a new library facility at Main and Ridge Streets.
The dedication of the "new" Emmaus Public Library took place on June 3, 1966. Mrs. Sheila Hess was chosen librarian. The next year she was succeeded by Mrs. Elaine Timbers, who served until her retirement in 1987. She was succeeded by Mrs. Frances Larash, the present Library Director.
In 1967, Upper Milford Township was the first municipality to seek a contractual agreement with Emmaus for library services for its residents. Lower Macungie was next (1967), followed by Macungie(1969) and Alburtis(1971). The library continued to grow by leaps and bounds, acquiring more books and other materials as the membership continued to increase.
By 1979, the library shelves were bulging with 48,000 volumes--13,000 over capacity. Once again, a committee composed of local volunteer citizens was formed to study the space problem. The result was the establishment of a fund drive to raise money for the recommended addition to the building. Through the generosity of many individuals, service organizations, companies, businesses, and others, construction was completed; the dedication of the much-needed addition was held on September 26, 1982.
In the early 1990's, a wing dedicated to Margaret Knoll Gardner was funded by a private donor. This wing is used for library meetings and special programs conducted by the library and other organizations. Also, in 1993 a computer fundraising campaign was conducted by volunteer citizens to equip the library for viability in the burgeoning technological age. The campaign was a great success; in August of 1994, the library began to use computers for book circulation. A short time later, the library catalog was computerized as well.
In 1984, the library board approved the establishment of the Endowment Fund to help create a permanent financial resource to keep the library a vital part of the community.
In 1998, a new Friends of the Emmaus Public Library group was established after a group of volunteer citizens met to formulate plans. The Friends have taken over the library's annual Book Sale, present various educational programs, and help to support the library financially. One of the programs they have established is Words On Wheels, whereby homebound residents can receive materials from the library delivered to their home. In addition, the Friends are good ambassadors for the library in the East Penn community.
In 2001, Lower Macungie Township established its own library, and because of its location, Alburtis became part of the LMT library. This greatly reduced the number of patrons registered at Emmaus Library, although state-wide residents with PA Access stickers on valid library cards may check out materials at EPL after registering.
Because of the reduction in registered patrons, Emmaus Library lost a portion of its income and state aid. However, the staff, the Board of Trustees, and the Friends of the Library all work together to assure that the library will continue to provide the efficient and friendly service that it has in the past.
The success of the Emmaus Public Library is due in large part to its large force of volunteers. They have been active in all facets of library operation since its humble beginnings. Volunteers are still very active today, assisting the fine professional staff in serving patrons and working behind the scenes. Private citizens from all the supporting municipalities (and some from other areas), area service clubs, local businesses, large corporations, youth organizations, and many others working together have all contributed to the tremendous growth and success of the Emmaus Public Library.
Some of the above information was excerpted from a booklet (The History of the New Emmaus Public Library) issued by the library in 1991 on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
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- LIBRARY HOURS:
- Effective January 1, 2010
- Monday-Thursday 10am to 9pm
- Friday - Closed
- Saturday 10am to 5pm
- Phone: 610-965-9284
- TELEPHONE RENEWALS: 610-965-2272