History & general info.
The West End Library, one of the three members of the federated Union County Library System, offers free public access to a wide range of materials, programs, and services to residents of Hartley Township and the surrounding communities. Located at 45 Ball Park Road in Laurelton, the library is part of the Laurel Run Activity Complex that also includes the “Field of Dreams” ball park and the Hartley Township Recreation and Youth Center.
After existing as a volunteer organization for 18 years, the West End Book Association became the West End Library in 1998 when the Union County Commissioners enacted a county-wide tax that would support the newly created Union County Library System. The two other members of the system are The Public Library for Union County in Lewisburg and Herr Memorial Library in Mifflinburg.
The West End Library is an example of what a few people with a vision can set in motion. Around 1980 a handful of motivated citizens developed the idea of establishing a public library in the small village of Laurelton. Space was secured in the Hartley Township Community Center, which formerly served as the township’s elementary school. (The room in which the library was housed had been the school’s first-grade classroom.)
With no public funding and a volunteer staff largely recruited from the membership of the Laurelton Women’s Club, the library association began to serve the community with a collection of books donated by area residents.
In 1998, the library tax and the provision of state funding for libraries made it possible to hire a director and staff, to serve the community 35 hours per week, and to begin procuring the latest books, audio-visual materials, and public computers.
A year later it was clear that the 750-square-foot room in the Community Center no longer provided adequate space to contain the library’s materials collection, to present programs, or to provide enough public computer access. With no room to expand, the library’s Board of Trustees began researching options.
In November 2003 the board signed a 99-year lease with the Hartley Township Supervisors of property along Laurel Road adjacent to the community’s ball field as the site of a free-standing library building.
A significant portion of the necessary funding for the new library was secured through grants, fundraising events, and contributions by residents and people who had connections in the West End of Union County. Ground was broken in June 2005, and the official dedication of the current West End Library took place on July 8, 2006.
Programs offered by the West End Library include summer reading programs for children, teens, and adults, weekly story hours and craft programs for children throughout the school year, and periodic special programs for all ages on such varied subjects as history, music, wildlife, hobbies, and nutrition.