Calling all Library Advocates! The Middletown Library Board will be voting on their 2013 Budget tonight at 7pm at the main branch of the library on New Monmouth Road. Public comments can be made at the beginning of the meeting. For a copy of the current proposed budget, go to http://mtpl.org/?q=node/293.
The budget includes materials cuts and the closure of the branches at Bayshore, Lincroft, and Navesink.
On February 7th, proposals to continue operations at the branches were presented by the branch representatives to Library Director Susan O'Neal and the Library Board Finance Committee members (Mr. Siebert, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Siwiec, and new Mayor appointee Mr. Cordiano). The results of the branch use survey were also distributed. The opinion of the branch representatives is that the need for austerity and the needs of the community can both be met with the proposals.
The proposal consisted of a drastic reduction of operating hours, from 27 hours per week, per branch to 12-15 hours per week, per branch. This reduction would result in the need for 1/3 the current staff; it would mean one librarian rather than three would be needed to work at the branches. Additionally, we proposed no new materials purchases for 2013, adding that old books are better than no books, and we would solicit the community for material donations to boost the resources on hand at the branches. The Navesink branch poses no cost to the library except for staffing. The current staff from the branches would be absorbed into the main branch should the closures occur. Due to the considerable distance between the main branch and the satellite branches, the need for book dropoff and pickup accomodations was also expressed.
The Library Board is comprised of nine voting members that also includes an appointee of the Middletown Schools Superintendant. Please come out to the meeting and express how these budget cuts will effect you, your children, and your community.