Library board disses founder in favor of failed former leader.
Wednesday’s Trentonian reported that the Board of Trustees was going to consider naming a branch of the Trenton Free Public Library system after Adrienne Hayling. Hayling resigned this past summer as President of the Library Board after serving on that body for 30 plus years.
Thursday’s edition of the publication confirms that the Board has agreed to honor Mrs. Hayling for her long years of service by renaming the Cadwalader Branch of the library system after her.
As the long time chair of the board charged with overseeing the operation of the library system, Hayling is responsible…along with the various members of the body who couldn’t or wouldn’t override her iron-clad rule…for a fiscal mess that has yet to be unraveled.
In the final decade of her reign, Hayling drove away at least a half dozen different library directors; stifled the once vibrant “Friends of the Library” group; and presided over staff reductions and severe cutbacks in operation hours in order to keep the main library and four branches open at all. Additionally, the Hayling lead board failed to obtain proper financial audits for several years running…a situation that is still in the process of being rectified.
Hayling offered nothing but indifference and interference to a group that came together to form a non-profit foundation with the sole intention of raising money to help the library system develop a long term funding plan above and beyond the annual appropriation from the city. Only after stringing the fledgling foundation along for over half a year was it announced that Hayling would step down from the board.
It is a shame that the very branch named in honor of the gentleman who funded and founded the Trenton Library Company in 1750 will soon be named after the woman who presided over the decline and near collapse of the venerable institution.
The actions of the board in recognizing Mrs. Hayling's questionable contribution to the library system would better be directed at the East Trenton Branch of the Library. It is the only one of the four branches not named after someone.
As noted the Cadwalader branch recognizes Dr. Cadwalader who organized and funded the first public library in New Jersey. The Briggs Branch recognizes the leadership of Mayor Frank Briggs, during whose term in office the modern library system was established. The Skelton branch is named for local educator and philanthropist Dr. Skelton who left an endowment for the library system as part of his estate.
All of these individuals made significant contributions to the development of Trenton’s historic library system. It is criminal to even consider swapping any one of their names for Mrs. Hayling’s.
This leaves only the “unnamed” East Trenton Branch as a possibility for bearing the Hayling moniker. And, if one thinks about it just a little bit harder, it may be an appropriate choice.
Recalling the flap created a year ago about the lack of restroom facilities readily accessible to the public at this branch, what could be more fitting than to rename the North Clinton Avenue facility after the woman who left the library without the proverbial “pot to piss in?”