Improving the Climate for Learning

Studies have shown that a difference in temperature of only 10 degrees can reduce a student’s test scores by as much as 28%….

Our mission: As the district library for Lehigh county, the Allentown Public Library’s mission is to serve everyone, connecting the public to life-long learning experiences and providing open access to resources.  We are a community hub for cultural enrichment.

Established in 1912 by community leaders and local officials who recognized the need for library services in their growing city, the Allentown Public Library has a long history of serving the Allentown area.  For more than 100 years, the Library has been a free, public space available to all, connecting the public to life-long learning experiences and open access to resources.

Maintaining a comfortable environment for library users has become increasingly difficult and costly.  The Library facility, constructed in 1978, has begun to experience wear in critical areas.  The original Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system is in critical need of replacement.  While the system has served the Library well, it is currently operating at a 40% efficiency rate per a recent engineering study, and plagued by routine malfunction.  Repairs have become more frequent, costly and complex as outdated parts fail and are increasingly hard to find. The risk of a large scale, failure of the system continues to increase, exposing the library to a possible long duration outage and the higher costs of an emergency replacement project.

The Library provides value to the community; providing educational programming and materials, access to the internet, support for job seekers, and preserving our shared culture and history.  The Library plays a meaningful role in English language learning by delivering programs, materials, language resources and courses.  APL programming supports the local economy by aiding in workforce development; offering resume writing support, job search resources, workspace for telecommuters, and test proctoring for college students.  The Library recognizes that good reading habits correlate to better academic performance and higher graduation rates; we provide early childhood literacy programs to foster a foundation for reading skills for our youngest library users.  We offer literacy-based activities throughout the summer months to maintain learning and academic skills for  local, at-risk students.  Free Wi-Fi access along with 60 computers for public use, complete with internet access, Microsoft Office products, and printing services bring 275,000 library users through our doors annually.  The Library has an extensive collection of 250,000 print, electronic, and audio-visual materials and staff trained in library skills and public service to meet the broad informational needs of our users.

It is our plan to replace the current HVAC system with a new, high-efficiency, natural gas-powered system that will run at a 90% or greater efficiency rate.  A more efficient and reliable system will mean reduced energy and maintenance costs.  The anticipated annual savings will be redirected to programs, materials, and services for children, students, and adults in Allentown. Total expenditures for this capital project are estimated at $2.3 million.  

The Library has committed up to $500,000 of its Endowment Fund to the project.  Significant funding has also been secured through a $500,000 Keystone Recreation Park and Conservation Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The Trexler Trust has additionally pledged $200,000 to support the project. Literacy changes lives and we change lives every day. Please join the community in supporting the Library’s 2018 campaign to “Improve our Climate for Learning!”

Contact Library Director Renee Haines at 610-820-2400 extension 111, for more information on how you can support the campaign or direct your support to

The Allentown Public Library at 1210 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA, 18102.