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Bethlehem Area Public Library, Community Partner

The outside of the Bethlehem Area Public Library at night.

The Bethlehem Area Public Library (BAPL) educates, informs and inspires by providing free and open access to materials and information. The library is a dedicated community partner committed to life-long learning, serving 114,175 residents of the City of Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township, Fountain Hill, and Hanover Township. We strengthen our communities with an outstanding collection of print and digital resources, informative programs, and innovative services. BAPL keeps pace as new technologies and applications emerge in the way information is accessed and delivered.

What do you love most about your job/organization?

I enjoy working at a job that always welcomes new people. Every day provides newBAPL Interior 2 experiences and new interactions. Children and teens have interesting insights into the world around them, new ways of viewing the world. We encourage them to explore the world through our resources and events. Working with toddlers and preschoolers as I often do is always a joy because they are so eager to participate, learn, and have fun. We strive to provide experiences that speak to early learning and the basic literacy skills.

How does Moravian University support your mission?

Moravian University has been a long-standing partner in providing academic support for our elementary, middle, and high school populations. “Homework Help” tutoring sessions, through the America Reads program, connects our school-age population with kind, caring, trained tutors from Moravian throughout the school year.BAPL world prgm interior

We have also been given the opportunity to work with Janet Ohles, director of Reeves Library, various faculty members, and students in providing a dual-language program for ages three through eight called World Stories. In each session, children “visit” and learn about a different country, as well as hear a book read in both English and the language of that region or country. Children are then invited to create an art project related to that region or country. The first two sessions have been wonderful and so well received by our families.

How can Moravian University—and the greater community—be more involved with your organization?

Stop in any of our four locations or the bookmobile and get a library card. Explore what we have to offer from books to e-resources to a great variety of enriching events for all ages. See what we are about and make a connection. Join our “Friends of the Library” group which supports the library and its many programs and initiatives.

What is the biggest challenge your organization faces?

The library faces all the same challenges as any nonprofit. We are constantly adapting and improving our services to stay relevant.

What do you hope for the future of your organization?

I hope that we continue to see new faces who will find value in what the library has to offer as a community resource and gathering place.

Mikela Ortwein, Class of 2023
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