This Town Needs a Library
We're announcing our support and endorsement of the Northvale Residents for a Municipal Library committee as they campaign to establish a taxpayer-funded library in their community on November 4th, 2014.
The question for Northvale, NJ. voters is simple: should they have a library funded by a .3 mil property tax or should they continue with a "reading room" in town. Over the summer, the committee circulated a petition to get that question on the ballot and hundreds of residents agreed.
We encourage the voters in Northvale to provide the minimum funding the library because the difference between a "reading room" and a library is stark:
A library includes books and e-book collections that are chosen by a professional librarian. While responsive to community need, librarians make selections that engage the community - from educational materials to supporting businesses to reading for the fun of it. A "reading room" can only fit a few books on a few shelves. A taxpayer-supported library in Northvale has a limitless collection through statewide inter-library loans.
Storytime in a "reading room" is fun. But storytime with a librarian is early childhood education and literacy. A "reading room" may bring in an early literacy specialist from time to time. A taxpayer-supported library in Northvale would have one on staff. Leverage Across the Community A library serves all ages and needs in the community by leveraging resources across the state. Shared resources like jobs databases, business reference information, health and health care information and government services are only available through a library. A "reading room" is one room. A library for Northvale is an access-point to shared resources from across the state and around the world.
Librarians, Staff and Community Control
The librarians are missing from Northvale and we would argue that Northvale is missing something important for education, the local economy, and community enrichment because of that. A municipal library that meets state standards needs professional librarians and support staff to put the programs, collections, and services into operation. Unlike a "reading room", a municipal library Board has real oversight about how the library tax is spent. It should be spent on community outcomes.
A few years back, the New Jersey Library Association asked folks around the state about their local libraries. 83% of New Jersey residents said funding public libraries are a good investment of public dollars; 71% believe that a public library is an essential service for the community and not just a cultural amenity; and 57% say more local money must be invested in public libraries.
A "reading room" shouldn't be enough for a community like Northvale. The election on November 4th is their chance to bring the collections, programs, services, library staff, and citizen oversight back to their community. Please join us in supporting the Northvale Residents for a Municipal Library and their YES campaign on November 4th.