Sunday, March 28, 2010

Help Save NJ Libraries

Libraries across the country are busier than ever before.  170,000 people use NJ libraries every day.  Libraries are community anchors. The unemployed are increasingly turning to libraries are currently to file online unemployment claims, apply for jobs, and taking classes to expand job skills. Children develop a critical reading skills beginning with Books for Babies programs progressing on to Summer Reading Programs and homework help. In this fiscally challenged times, adults are using libraries to provided low cost entertainment options, interact with government, and participate in life-long learning opportunities.
Governor Christie’s proposed budget calls for a 74% cut in library budgets. All statewide programs and services would be eliminated. These budget cuts will also cause an additional $4.5 million loss in federal funding, further decreasing in library’s ability to provided needed services. Eliminating all of the Network Aid ($4.299 mil) is incredibly destructive to library operations. Network Aid includes all region and statewide services such as; delivery, databases, and inter-library loans.

Intra-library loans and delivery systems have become a mainstay of library circulation. These systems allow a library to have a smaller collection of information physically on hand while providing the public a wider array of available information. Last year 82,000 items were circulated through the intra-library loan system to the benefit of Roxbury Township residents. I use the MAIN online ordering system. MAIN determines which library has an available copy of the book I’ve requested, and then arranges delivery. An e-mail is sent to me notifying the book has arrived at the Roxbury Library where I pick it up. Once I’ve returned the book, MAIN returns it to the home library or to the branch of the next recipient. This is an efficient use of the materials available to all the residents of towns using the MAIN system. Systems like this would cease to exist throughout the state if the budget cut eliminating Network Aid is allowed to stand.

Please click on the link and send an e-mail to your state representatives in the 25th district in support of your library. 

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