The Northern Lancaster Hub is a partnership of nonprofits committed to streamlining services to shared clients “under one roof” through two sites in northern Lancaster County.

Located in south-central Pennsylvania, two lead organizations coordinate efforts to improve the quality of life for all residents. These organizations are further supported by a third organization spanning the geographic gap to increase access to services within the partnership.

The Exploratorium & Community Commons

The Exploratorium & Community Commons is located in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. The building located at 560 South Reading Road between the Ephrata Public Library and the Wawa convenience store was bought by the Library in 2002 for $275,000. It was leased to Curves Fitness until 2014. The Exploratorium:

  • contains almost 10,000 square feet of measurable value to the community
  • accommodates library program expansion and increases community meeting space
  • formerly housed an auto shop, an ice cream parlor, and low-income housing
  • is dedicated to entrepreneurial self-sustenance
  • does not tap into the Library’s budget for capital improvements or operations

Phase I Development of the Exploratorium:

  • completed in September 2016
  • includes a meeting room, a catering kitchen, and space for storage
  • utilized by the United Way of Lancaster County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program; in 2018 they completed 2,130 tax returns at no cost, saving area residents nearly $600,000 in tax preparation fees (source)
  • utilized by the Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon for English as a Second Language instruction for adults, who earn the capacity to increase their annual income by $10,000 for every 100 hours of completed basic skills instruction (source)

Phase II Development of the Exploratorium:

  • completed in May 2018
  • provides offices, restrooms, and a laboratory for a social services partner

Phase III Development of the Exploratorium:

  • scheduled for completion by October 2018
  • will convert an existing garage bay into flexible mixed-use meeting space for partners and library events

Future phases may convert the second floor of the Exploratorium into a demo kitchen, a podcasting studio, quiet study rooms and networking spaces for public and private use. A final phase would include enhancements to the front of the building facing South Reading Road.