Our Library, More Important Than Ever

Our Library, More Important Than Ever

Posted in the South Orange Forum

Kathleen Kargoll

Englishtown, NJ

#1 Mar 17, 2009
Our Library, More Important Than Ever

The Friends of the Library understand that the town finds itself in an extremely tight budget situation with a possible deficit on the order of $5million dollars. We also understand that the library has been asked to make reductions in the amount of money received from the town on the order of the equivalent of two full time staff people effective this current fiscal year. This would be is in addition to the voluntary reduction in headcount of one full time employee the library has already proposed. While every part of the town will no doubt have to make sacrifices this year, The Friends would like to remind everyone of the importance of the library, and the greater reliance of the community on the library, specifically in more difficult economic times.

The library represents a community's information and intellectual center. It is our public house of learning. It's resources help every section of the community, parents and child caregivers gather for story time, music and crafts, our school age children rely on the library for school work and summer reading programs, our teenagers are always welcome at the South Orange Library, there are a variety of activities set up to attract them, job seekers, seasoned and new, learn how to upload resumes and perform job searches polish up resumes (with the benefit of the company of others who are facing similar challenges), readers, movie buffs, music lovers, the library has something to offer all of them. Literacy volunteers and teachers of English as a second language teach many who otherwise would not have somewhere to and someone from which to learn. Interesting speaker programs attract the curious and many senior citizens, all who value life long learning. As times get tough, more and more people realize the tremendous resources available from our library and our wonderful librarians. Library's are green, a single volume is read many many times spreading the knowledge contained therein across many minds.

At the friends meeting last week, it was made very clear that in order to attain the level of funding cutbacks requested, a reduction in personnel and therefore a reduction in hours and/or a reduction in the purchase of new materials would have to be made (most likely all three). These cuts would be happening at a time when Library usage is up. Last Sunday's NY Times cover article on the NJ section, which extensively quoted librarians from our sister town Maplewood, plainly illustrated what we already know, the Library in more important than ever.

All concerned community members are encouraged to contact and contribute to the Friends of the South Orange Library. We are working closely with the Library, the Library Trustees, and our volunteer members to explore ways in which we can alleviate the hardships facing our beloved Library.

Kathleen Kargoll, Vice President, Friends of the South Orange Public Library.
[email protected]
[email protected]

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