Redbank Valley
Chamber of Commerce

309 Broad Street, Suite 2
New Bethlehem, PA. 16242
Phone: (814) 275-3929
Fax: (814) 275-4269
[email protected]

Business of the Month: August2023

Redbank Valley Public Library

  • Organization Date – Nov. 6, 1961
  • Library Director – Jaylene Onufer
  • Primary Products – Information & Entertainment
  • Business Goals –  to provide free entertainment, education, and information to the residents of the community

For August’s “Business of the Month”, the Redbank Valley Chamber of Commerce takes a little bit of a different tack and we are pleased to highlight the Redbank Valley Public Library. While not typically considered a “business” the public libraries have historically, and continue, to provide very important services to communities, especially small-town rural communities like the Redbank Valley. Until the coming of the internet, the local libraries served as the best place for people to find in depth information on almost any topic imaginable as well as providing books for general reading, research, and continuing education. While the Internet provides much of the same, the libraries are still an incredible resource for small, rural communities.

The Redbank Valley Public Library, a 501-C (3), non-profit corporation was organized on November 6, 1961 and although less than 100 miles from Pittsburgh – the home of Andrew Carnegie – is not a Carnegie endowed library. The Mission of the library is to provide free entertainment, education, and information to the residents of the community. The RVPL also provides very low cost technology services such as computer printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. Residents can also apply for their passports at the library. Another part of the Mission is to be one of the hubs of the community, and as part of that, the library has a “community room” available for meetings. Information and entertainment are the primary services provided to the community.

Mrs. Jaylene Onufer is the Director of the Redbank Valley Public Library. Surprisingly, Mrs. Onufer’s college degree was in Education with an emphasis on business. She did have to take some Library Science courses in order to be hired. She said that her background in business has been important and becoming more important in the current economic environment. Like every other business, the library has to make its dollars go farther as inflation and recession can hurt donations. She is assisted in her work by Amy Toth, Debbie Troupe and Cali Polka. The library is managed by a 7 member Board of Directors. Mrs. Phyllis Howard is the current President of the Board.

Unlike other businesses that generate their funding through sales and loans, the library has to generate its operating money from donations, grants, and endowments. Acknowledging the importance of the public library federal, state, and local governments provide grants. Redbank Valley Public Library has an endowment fund which provides funding as well. But, private donations are incredibly important to keeping the library open. And, donations are tax deductible!

Summer offers the library some opportunities not available during the school year. Summer reading programs for kids give Moms something to help entertain the kids during summer vacation. Jaylene reported that the audience of older kids has been varied this summer with different kids coming in on different weeks. The library also offers adult craft classes year round. Some past classes have included wreath making and concrete pumpkins. PA Career Links is also available at different times to help job seekers.

August of 2023 marks an important milestone for the Redbank Valley Public Library – 20 years ago this month, the Library opened in its current location, moving from the corner of Lafayette and Broad Streets. Occupying the new building was the culmination of several years of fund raising. The current location is a modern structure, better suited for easy access with a parking lot. It is a major improvement over the old location and definitely worth celebrating 20 years of service.

In preparation for the 20th Anniversary the library board and staff have under taken a major face lifting of the library grounds. Truitt Sealcoating is donating an over haul of the parking lot for the anniversary as well.

Mrs. Onufer shared some of the events planned for the celebration week of August 14 – 18. She said that there would be food trucks on site, several “group evenings”, and an open house. There is an open invitation for everyone to drop by and get to know the Redbank Valley Public Library a little better.
The Redbank Valley Chamber of Commerce commends the Redbank Valley Public Library for 62 years of service to the community and congratulates the library for 20 years in the “new” location. If you get a chance, drop by our “Business of the Month” and see what’s going on.

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