I am writing to the residents in senate district 33 with an alert and request. Once again libraries are being undermined by the introduction of Bill S2775. This bill, if passed, will lead to significant cut backs in library services at a time when library usage is growing and needed more than ever. Very few libraries in New Jersey could stay opened if funded at 1/6 mill, as Senator Stack advocates for in his bill, rather than the long standing 1/3 of a mill. The 1/3 of mill allows libraries to fund basic services. It gives all residents access to services such as computers and lessons on how to use the internet and other computer programs, employment help, movies, DVDs, programs for all ages, reference services and knowledge and information on all topics through access to data bases, magazines, books and newspapers. Libraries do this on Saturdays (and some even on Sundays) during the day and in the evenings. Most have elevators for those with mobility issues.
I know the Hoboken Public Library best because I am on the Board of Trustees there. In addition to those services already mentioned our Library offers FREE English as a second language classes sponsored by our Friends of the Library. (The Jersey City Library also does extensive work with literacy). Those patrons with children bring them to programs throughout the year and many of them are counting on our reading program to reinforce reading skills over the summer when schools are closed.
Basic funding has always just barely covered the cost for these many services so most Library budgets are already augmented through fundraising, grant writing and consortia participation. I know that our Friends of the Library sent many of you invitations to their very successful Novel Night fund raiser and the Library Director has been awarded several computer grants from the Gates Foundation. We are waiting to hear about several other submitted grants. Our Library and many others in Bergen, Hudson and Essex counties are members of BCCLS, a long standing consortium formed by libraries so they can dramatically save on book and computer costs. Libraries are already lean, efficient, community services that residents use and actively support. Please write to Senator Stack at 3715 Palisade Ave. 3rd Floor, Union City, N.J. 07087, or call (201) 330-3233, or email at: http://capwiz.com/ala/nj/issues/alert/?alertid=13301621&PROCESS=Take+Action and ask him to rescind Bill S2775. It undermines the existence of one of the best bargains in the state of NJ; its public library system. Which services are you going to have to give up if this bill passes?