The future of the Millheim library, made murky by the Centre County Library’s recent decision to cut ties, could again start to take shape this week.
Friends of the East Penns Valley Branch Library, as it was called while part of the county library system, are meeting Tuesday to start the conversation about whether the community asset can be saved.
The Centre County Library’s board of trustees voted last month to close the branch in a cost-cutting move that library officials said was both regrettable and necessary.
Officials said at the time that the move protects the health of the library system as a whole, which has been burdened in recent years by diminishing state and federal funding and has had to dig ever deeper into reserves to balance its budget.
The closure was recommended to the library board in July by a consultant they hired to review the health of the system. It was set to take effect Oct. 1.
But the library board also expressed hope that the facility could live on as a community library and committed to helping in any way it could, including donating the branch’s resources.
Those items, from the books right down to the shelves, were ordered turned over to the Friends of the library group.
Friends board member Amy Niewinski has expressed optimism that the community can rally and find a way to support a community library.
The conversation will officially start at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the form of a public meeting at the Aaronsburg Civic Club, according to the Friends’ Facebook page.
But in some ways, the effort to save the library has already started. The Friends group hosted its annual bake sale over the weekend at the Aaronsburg Dutch Fall Festival, raising money for the facility.
They’ll need it now, perhaps, more than ever.
Matt Carroll writes about news from the Penns and Brush Valley regions. He can be reached at 231-4631 or mcarroll@centre daily.com.