30 SPARK Libraries Expand Access to Over 1.4 million Items Through Strategic Partnerships 

The Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (PaILS), which manages the SPARK library consortium, is proud to announce that 16 percent of its libraries now have direct access to an unprecedented number of items, exceeding 1.4 million resources and still growing. 

For over a decade, the Lehigh Valley Library System, which includes Easton Area Public Library, Allentown Public Library, and the Bethlehem Area Public Library has shared resources like books and DVDs. This partnership has saved patrons valuable time by eliminating the need to travel to neighboring libraries. 

In April 2023, a new milestone was reached with the establishment of the Monroe-Easton-Bangor Library Group. This collaborative effort united libraries from Easton to the Pocono Mountains, enhancing connectivity and resource sharing across the region. Dedicated delivery drivers ensure that items flow seamlessly between these areas daily. 

Building upon this success, the Lehigh Carbon Library Cooperative (LCLC) joined forces with the Allentown Public Library in April 2024. This addition further expands access to resources throughout the Lehigh Valley and beyond. The LCLC, formed in 2018 with 11 libraries in Lehigh and Carbon Counties, has been a transformative force in western Lehigh Valley’s library landscape. 

“We are thrilled to see the Lehigh Carbon Library Cooperative join the resource-sharing network with Lehigh Valley Library System and the Pocono Mountain area SPARK libraries” said Katie Greenleaf Martin, Executive Director of PaILS. “Grant funding from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries has enabled us to collaborate with Equinox Open Library Initiative to enhance sharing groups in Evergreen ILS, benefiting PA libraries and others using this open-source software.” 

Borrowing materials from partner libraries is a seamless process. Patrons can search the online catalog, place holds, and await notification of item availability. Most items are delivered within three business days, ensuring quick access to desired resources. 

The resource-sharing partners in this collaboration include: 

Lehigh Valley Library System (LVLS) 

  • Allentown Public Library (Allentown, PA) 
  • Bethlehem Area Public Library (Bethlehem, PA) 
  • Easton Area Public Library (Easton, PA) 

Monroe-Easton-Bangor Library Group Libraries 

  • Bangor Public Library (Bangor, PA) 
  • Barrett Paradise Friendly Library (Cresco, PA) 
  • Clymer Library (Pocono Pines, PA) 
  • Easton Area Public Library (Easton, PA) 
  • Eastern Monroe Public Library (Stroudsburg, PA) 
  • Pocono Mountain Public Library (Tobyhanna, PA) 
  • Western Pocono Community Library (Brodheadsville, PA) 

Lehigh Carbon Library Cooperative (LCLC) 

  • Coplay Public Library (Coplay, PA) 
  • Dimmick Memorial Library (Jim Thorpe, PA) 
  • Emmaus Public Library (Emmaus, PA) 
  • Lehighton Area Memorial Library (Lehighton, PA) 
  • Lower Macungie Library (Macungie, PA) 
  • Palmerton Area Library (Palmerton, PA) 
  • Parkland Community Library (Allentown, PA) 
  • Public Library of Catasauqua (Catasauqua, PA) 
  • Slatington Public Library (Slatington, PA) 
  • Southern Lehigh Public Library (Center Valley, PA) 
  • Whitehall Township Public Library (Whitehall, PA) 

This project is made possible in part by federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Office of Commonwealth Libraries. The Pennsylvania Integrated Library System looks forward to facilitating these collaborative efforts and expanding resource sharing to benefit its member libraries. For more information on this exciting new arrangement, please contact pails@sparkpa.org.

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