How Funding Cuts Will Affect Glen Ridge Library

GR library-1.jpgIf you’re a regular at the local public libraries, you may have wondered how Gov Chris Christie’s proposed budget cuts – of 74% of state funding for libraries – will affect services.
John Sitnik, Glen Ridge Public Library‘s director, said two staff posts were eliminated following the last board meeting on April 20, and more may follow if the state cuts go through.
“We’re trying to survive for now and keep up with everything,” Sitnik said. “We have a couple of projects coming up to raise funds, but not for regular operating expenses.”

Sitnik laid out, in detail below, what Glen Ridge library stands to lose, and soon.
Statewide delivery service will end
GR library borrowed more than 18,000 items for residents last year and shared 11,000 items – like CDs, DVDs, language kits, recorded books – with other libraries, saving money and avoiding duplication
Statewide contract magazine, newspaper and research databases will end
Replacing the EBSCO collection – including magazines and publications for student research, newspapers and covering the areas of business, health, biography, science and environment – will cost $35,136 a year.

Also, The JerseyClicks collection of business and academic research publications
will end. It would cost Glen Ridge Library almost $25,000 to replace.
Statewide summer reading program will cease after this summer
This includes programs, decorations and ideas to keep children reading throughout the summer and improve their learning skills.
GR Library to lose half its per capital state library aid Oct. 1, and possibly all of it in 2011
Although state aid is a small amount of the total library budget, per capita aid was used to install the library’s first computers 15 years ago. It supplemented book and magazine purchases, helped with building improvements such as duct cleaning and electrical repairs and technology improvements.
Loss of staff training, regional library services and group purchasing discounts
These cannot be replicated in-house at an affordable cost. By working with other libraries, GR Library has been able to do more with less.
Loss of technical assistance
In the areas of library law, preservation, youth and senior citizen services, and pilot programs. Through the State Library’s grant writers, GR Library has been awarded thousands of dollars in grants for books, audiovisual materials and computers over the past 10 years.
Loss of resources for the visual or hearing impaired
The library will lose the Talking Book and Braille Center in July 2012. Visually-impaired students won’t be able to get textbooks on tape.
Loss of library website
The Glen Ridge Library website is now hosted at no cost by the State Library. This service will end.
If you’re concerned about your libraries and would like to help, click here or contact legislators here.

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  1. this stinks. i just got 2 books–a groucho marx memoir and a new book Something Red from the interlibrary loan system. Bummer.

  2. I too have enjoyed the interlibrary system. I’m sorry to see the service go but I support the Gov. In his efforts to clean up the waste. I’d be willing to pay a fee for this service.

  3. I wonder if Glen Ridge should consolidate its libary with those of Montclair–e.g. contribute to the Montclair library budget in exchange for Glen Ridge resident access.
    I live on Glen Ridge but work in Montclair and I have to say that I almost never use my hometown libary anyway. That’s not a knock on the staff, whom I’ve always found helpful, but the Glen Ridge library is simply so small that it never has what I’m looking for.
    Rather than have a tiny and now-economically crippled libary–but one which still requires capital expenditures, a payroll, benefits, insurance, etc.–it might be better to reinforce and join a larger neighboring library system.

  4. @DagT — it’s a shame that libraries are being punished financially for doing all of the right things — shared services, shared resources/databases, regional library training and support, group purchasing, etc. — things that the Governor claims to support.

  5. Sonething’s gotta go. You ain’t seen nothing yet, I expect. The size of the government isn’t sustainable.

  6. Merging libraries could increase Montclair’s dismal holdings. I have never been inside Glen Ridge’s library; I can imagine, though. It is sad that students who are visually impaired will lose services.
    Students who are visually impaired get through school, including college, with assistive devices and services that are available through libraries or the State Commission for the Blind. It is sad to see all of this go.
    Where are our Governor’s priorities?

  7. I love my local library but applaud the governor for having the guts to do what he’s doing. The effect is being felt statewide; libraries aren’t being singled out.

  8. I’ve been a user of the Glen Ridge library for 21 years. Its collection is fine, and whatever they don’t have you can get from BCCLS in a few days (and you can order it from home). It’s important to note that Glen Ridge led both Bloomfield and Monclair into the BCCLS system.

  9. “It’s important to note that Glen Ridge led both Bloomfield and Monclair into the BCCLS system.”
    Why is that “important to note” ?
    If if can’t be afforded, it can’t be afforded.

  10. @ROC — Libraries can’t afford not to share services and resources. It is much less efficient for each library to try to duplicate services.
    @Nellie — when you are talking about a 74% decrease in funding, then yes, it feels like libraries are being singled out as no other group/organization/constituency is facing such drastic cuts to funding.

  11. I was being sarcastic when I said I’d rather higher fees over new taxes, but there might be something to adjusting our fee based access to some services to avoid higher taxes for everyone. There are fees for almost every service we get from our towns already; is the fee structure related to demand and supply or just to covering costs? If demand and supply ruled, maybe we would have a better idea of how many people we really need at the municipal government level.

  12. “74% funding cuts at exactly the time when they are needed most by the folks who need them.”
    The issue is not need. It’s funding. The political thinking here is that 100% of the population need fire and police protection more than a fully funded library.
    It sucks to be sure. But if it can’t be afforded it can’t be afforded.

  13. not fully funded – but by how much not fully funded?
    take off this or that percent.
    Or 74% — 3 quarters of the budget. That’s the part that feels like a proposed disaster.

  14. The arrogance of that person, who claims to be a governor but really wants to be a dictator, is really appalling. As both a Librarian and a Teacher, I deeply understand the impact he has had on those two fields is something that will serve to ruin our state for years to come. He actually plans to have the charter schools replace the standard ones – leading to disorganized chaos in education. Just as he wants to effectively underfund/close the Libraries, the results will lead to less standardized functions, cuts in staff as well as hours, and, like having the charters replace the schools, he would rather have people go to Barnes & Noble, Google!, and BlockBusters rather than use their own township facilities – with PROFESSIONAL STAFF. Therefore, I firmly believe he needs to be stopped at every turn and made to realize that his disdain for public allowance to facilities of learning and information is not something the vast majority of Garden State people agree with by any means. Lastly, to ‘close’ our library would only serve to close a major instutitional part of our town. Having patrons go to, as some responders stated, either the Bloomfield or Montclair facilities, as nice as they are (via my professional connections, I know that to be true), would ultimately only serve to return Glen Ridge to being Western Bloomfield or creating it as the Valley Portion of Montclair.

  15. Actually, it’s my belief that libraries are being singled out because they’re easy targets: there are no unions to fight, no collective bargaining contracts to be renegotiated, no unrealistic levels of employee benefits to be maintained.
    Christie is not making the hard, necessary choices & fighting the difficult battles; he’s taking the easy way out, as are many town officials statewide who’ve let their municipal budgets get out of hand.
    Our children, elderly, the unemployed, immigrants – the usual collection of the generally powerless – will pay the price.
    You know that you’re living in interesting times, as the old Chinese curse goes, when your government wants you to believe that shuttering libraries is an act of fiscal responsbility.
    I never thought I’d see this kind of thing happen in America.

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