Friday, April 27, 2012

Kill the Zombie Libraries

Update: Kevin Morriarty has launched the "Stop the Zombie Libraries" initiative. Check it out and sign the petition! You can sign it on line here:

As reported by Matt Fair in the Times on Thursday, Trenton Mayor Tony Mack seems hell bent on destroying the over century old Trenton Free Public Library by creating his so called "Mayor's Learning Center Libraries" in the closed branch library buildings.

This scheme was first hinted about last December when the Mayor announced he wouldn't entertain the offer of the East Trenton Collaborative to refurbish the historic former East Trenton Library branch building and operate a combination community/learning center out of it. No details were forthcoming at that time.

During his March 21, 2012 "State of the City" address, Mayor Mack declared that he would have his "Learning Centers" open "on or before April 30." Again, no details were forthcoming.

No one on city council had any information on this. The director of the Trenton Free Public Library nor the Board of Trustees of the Trenton Free Public Library knew anything about this plan. Not the Friends of the Library group, the state librarian or even the county librarian (even though the Mayor had pledged that patrons of the learning centers would have access to the Mercer County Libary System).

Kevin Moriarty has written extensively on this matter over the past month or so. Starting with his response to the same "State of the City" address and continuing through a fairly detailed analyis of what few details of the plan we have gotten. There have been a couple of more entries about this, including this morning's wherein Kevin dubs these facilities the "Zombie Libraries."

It is a sick twist of fate that just a few years ago the people in this city were coming together in an attempt to save the branch libraries from closing and to find a way to ensure the venerable and historic TFPL remained a viable resource for the community.  Now, we are fighting to kill off these Zombie Libraries because they are evil (not to mention illegal) and if they are allowed to proliferate they will surely be the death knell for the very same Trenton Free Public Library that has its roots in an institution created before this country won its independence from England.

Let's be revolutionary, yet again, and tell our elected representatives on city council to exercise their authority and shut down this folly. At the very least, this "plan" must be stopped until factual and satisfactory answers have been given to the most basic of questions such as where is the money coming from to operate these centers? Who will be managing them? How can any of this be accomplished without the formal consent of the Trustees of the TFPL and/or city council?

Say "NO" to the Mayor's Zombie Libraries!

1 comment:

Lamberton Lilly said...

I had a robo call last evening announcing the opening/reopening of the Skelton Branch. The Voice on the phone also said, "...there is a desparate need for volunteers..." Skelton is being opened without sufficient staff? That's the impression I got from the call. Why can't the Honorable Mayor learn to think things through?