There is much business on the upcoming meeting of the Library Board, especially if you are interested in the future of the library.
An architect hired by the Board last year will be making his presentation on the condition of the Lincroft Branch. Dennis Kowal and associates were hired to assess the structural condition of the building, updating a survey done 10 years ago by T&M. They were also instructed to make recommendations on how to make the facility more suitable as a branch library, given limited financial resources. We are looking forward to this presentation because this branch has had only cosmetic work done to it and no one ever really asked the serious questions of functionality.
The timing is awful, to put it bluntly. This was one of the Capital Projects of the library that was eliminated as the Board "undedicated" $800,000 of its reserves in order to qualify for the $500,000 transfer to the Township for the 2011 budget. But, knowing what needs to be done is information we did not have before, and whatever the timing, is information that has value in planning for the future.
Talking about the future is on the agenda in another way too. I've written a 3-yr Technology and Strategic Plan for the Library. Since we're starting from a position of great service and a commitment to using technology efficiently and effectively from an operational perspective, there are no great leaps and bounds in the plans. The focus is to build on success, using mostly existing talent [staff], rethinking about the ways we currently do things and how we can shift - adjust - change, for better or more services.
Some of my recommendations are to establish ad hoc advisory committees, involving you, the public, more, plus offer occasional public forums which explain the "deep" mysteries of librarianship [I'm really kidding here!], such as how we select materials for the collection, how we employ principles of child development in the programs we offer, tips for parents of teenagers who are puzzled by the types of books their kids want to read, and more. Some of the plans are the result of what we've heard from you about what you want at the library - the biggest being able to register for programs via the internet - that's coming later this summer!
In the interest of time, this meeting probably won't be a full-out in-depth discussion of the plans. That will come later this summer. But I know the board will be looking at our financial prospects to move ahead as opposed to standing still, or dropping services. The fact is, our fiscal situation for next year is particularily dire. As it stands now, the library's revenue from the Township will drop nearly half a million dollars in 2012, and quite possibly flatline around that number for many years to come.
Also on this agenda is the final resolution that the Trustees must make to send to the NJ State Library seeking authorization to transfer $499,947 to the Township.
The Agenda includes an opportunity to hear from you at the outset of the meeting and near the end, after the Trustees have made their decisions. If you are interested in the future of your library, please attend this meeting.
Wednesday, June 15. Main Library Community Room 7:00 p.m.
Susan O'Neal, Director