Flowers Would Be Nice

To The Editor:

My wife and I would love to see some type of flowers in our turnabout.we feel it  would greatly enhance the entrance to Woolwich as well as Swedesboro. I’m sure we could find a couple of extra bucks in our budgets to meet this request.

Sam and Pud Davidson

Library Question

To the Editor:

On November 5th, East Greenwich residents will be asked to decide if they should withdraw from the Gloucester County Library System and form an independent municipal library.

Right now, all East Greenwich library users live less than four miles from a GCLS branch library that is modern, handicap accessible, and providing state-of-the-art library services. East Greenwich residents have access to a collection of over 250,000 items, plus free downloadable eBooks and audiobooks, music, magazines and thousands of dollars’ worth of research databases. GCLS branches offer free educational and entertaining programs for all ages, public use computers, and wifi. All this is available to East Greenwich residents without the financial burden of building, maintaining, furnishing, and stocking a physical library and paying salaries and benefits for municipal library employees.

If the majority of East Greenwich residents vote “No”, East Greenwich will remain a member of GCLS and residents will continue to have full access to all GCLS library services. If the referendum passes, East Greenwich residents will stop paying the county library tax as of January 1, 2016. On that date, East Greenwich residents will no longer be members of GCLS, and their GCLS cards will no longer be valid.

The East Greenwich Library Association, a private nonprofit organization, is promising East Greenwich residents that through fund-raisers, it will be able to create a functioning library by January 1, 2016. Residents should keep in mind that as a private nonprofit, the Library Association has no legal authority to establish a municipal library, and bears none of the financial responsibility. If the referendum passes, East Greenwich Township will be required by state law to create a new municipal library that is entirely funded from the Township’s budget.

At minimum, East Greenwich Township would have to secure a suitable building (build, purchase, or lease) and be responsible for all maintenance, utilities, insurance, etc. The building would have to be furnished, and filled with material for residents to borrow. Library staff, including at least one full-time certified professional librarian, would have to be hired and added to the municipal payroll. The township would need to purchase computers, a circulation and catalog software system, and contract for broadband internet service.

If the referendum is approved, citizens of East Greenwich should be aware that the cost of building, staffing, stocking and maintaining a stand-alone municipal library would rest entirely with East Greenwich taxpayers.

The Library Association has provided residents with no information about the location, size or quality of the collection, or the level of library services they hope to offer. Knowing that the majority of East Greenwich residents use the GCLS Mullica Hill Branch as their local library, the Library Association has spent a lot of time trying to assure residents that they will be able to continue to have access to GCLS services by becoming a member of the LOGIN consortium.  This is not the case. Membership in LOGIN is not automatic and not guaranteed.

To date, no realistic plan for providing municipal library service has been presented by the Library Association or East Greenwich Township.

Thousands of East Greenwich residents hold GCLS library cards and enjoy all the benefits and services GCLS offers.  Voters should carefully consider what they stand to lose if the November 5th library referendum is approved.

Nancy Polhamus

Public Information Officer

Gloucester County Library System

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July 12, 2024, 1:07 pm
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