Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Read all about it

TPL Board Should Be Tossed

The Times ran a story this morning about the need for Trenton Library Director Kimberly Bray to take a civil service exam and score in the top three in order to keep her provisional appointment.

Bray's tenuous status was revealed in the wake of stories regarding her potential legal problems back in Utah.

This is just the latest tempest to swirl around the hallowed doors of the Trenton Public Library.

Ms. Bray recently presented various scenarios for dealing with severe budget cuts in this fiscal year that included closing or severely curtailing hours at branches throughout the city.

The provisional director is the latest of six appointees to hold the post over the last eight years.

Hiring practices at the Library were called into question last year with the discovery of an convicted felon who worked in the children's section while wearing an electronic monitoring device. This issue came up again with the revelations of the pending civil suit against Ms. Bray and questions about why it wasn't uncovered in during the background check.

The management and oversight of Library operations have been questioned since Scott Hughes left after less than a year in the director's chair. At the time of his departure, Mr. Hughes communicated his concerns and suggestions to Trenton City Council in a letter.

Questions abound about the dwindling down of a multi-million dollar endowment to approximately $300,000 in less than a decade. Proper Library board meetings and minutes seem to be unheard of.

Much of this can be laid at the feet of Board President, Adrienne Hayling. Ms Hayling has been at the helm of the Trenton Free Public Library Board while it has run aground. (It must be noted for the record that Ms. Hayling is a close and longtime family friend of Doug Palmer. Some have described Ms. Hayling as his "second mother.")

In a blog entry last month, South Ward Councilman straight out says it is time for Ms. Hayling to go. We couldn't agree more.

In fact, it is our considered opinion that the entire current board needs to be scrapped if for no other reason than the six other members have let themselves be bullied by the Board President into doing things her way.

On a similar tack, Dan Dodson has offered up a thought provoking essay on what to do with the Trenton Library System on his blog, Re-inventing Trenton. Mr. Dodson suggest a complete and dramatic change to a different model of what a public library could be.

Old model or new, Trenton needs and deserves a functioning library system.

The current Board is incapable of managing and must be dissolved immediately. A new board should be appointed and a forensic audit undertaken to determine just where the monies have evaporated to.

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