Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dear Gov. Christie...

This is in response to two things from the Governor's 4/21 interview on Ask the Governor, NJ 101.5. Here's a segment of that interview, transcripted:

Eric SCOTT (NJ101.5): Peg in Rutherford writes: 'What are your issues with New Jersey's public libraries? A 74% cut indicates a clear lack of support.' And we got many similar questions to Peg as well about the reduction in support for libraries.
Governor CHRISTIE: Listen, I love public libraries, but public libraries are one of the few places where, by statute, municipalities are required to dedicate a certain amount to their public libraries. And so there is a dedicated funding stream to libraries and each and every municipality that has one. And again, I'm not looking to cut funding from libraries, but everyone is sharing in the sacrifice. Every department of state government has been reduced. For the first time in recent memory, every department has been reduced. Every program has been looked at. And libraries can't be immune to that. And so, I don't feel good about having to do it, but the fact of the matter is as one of the earlier callers said I was handed a bag of problems when I took this job. And I'm not complaining about it. I understood at least some of the problems I was inheriting when I asked for the job. And so we're just dealing with as honestly as I can. I understand. I've gotten a lot of letters from people who utilize public libraries-
SCOTT: Yeah.
CHRISTIE: And I think there's some misinformation about it too. It's not like because of this, public libraries are going to be closing. Municipalities are required to dedicate a stream of funding to libraries in their towns. And we do not believe you'll be seeing any libraries close or any significant diminution of services for people to be able to utilize. But there were a number of streams of funding that went there. We felt like in an era of tough choices, given that there was another funding stream available to public libraries across the state of New Jersey, that that was one of the areas we could aggressively cut for the time being while we are in a difficult period.

There are two parts of this to which I want to respond.

First: Yes, most of the public library funding is through a dedicated local tax. However, bill A2555 seeks to gut that by eliminating the minimum funding requirement! There are also multiple streames of funding for libraries because of shared services, regional cooperatives, and statewide programs which help ALL libraries. Your cut will result in loss of services, possibly cut hours but definitely reduced services. Your also puts funding below thresholds to get federal funding- so the cut runs even deeper than you portray.

Second: We all know how bad were the fiscal problems you inhereted were; we all did. If you didn't, I suggest in the future you read the newspaper. Be aware how utterly disingenuous you sound every time you complain about it- and then insist you're not complaining about it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Lupus of News

Jon Stewart, doing what he does best.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

It's a little long but worth it to hang out to the end.

The best comedy IS social commentary.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


In a fitting end for National Library Week, an editorial appeared in Friday's Times of Trenton explaining why library funding in Our Fair State is so imperiled and why we need to save it.

Gov. Christie's proposed budget eliminates most of the statewide services that state residents have come to expect from their local libraries. A 74 percent reduction in state funding will eliminate the core services and infrastructure that support a majority of our libraries, including access to the internet, databases and electronic resources; loans and delivery of materials between libraries; and support for summer reading programs for children. And a 50 percent reduction in state aid will affect our libraries' ability to purchase books, computers and audiovisual collections.
Often, the public library is the only center in the community where anyone can go for services such as finding tax forms, resume preparation, homework assistance, literacy programs, recreational reading, research and much more. Libraries serve the youngest children, starting with programs for babies and parents, where children are read to and begin learning and socializing. Programs for children and teens continue as they grow. Our youth find welcoming spaces that offer help with homework, research, their college search, books, and a place to relax in a safe environment. Most libraries offer hours until 9 p.m. on weekdays, as well as weekend service. After school hours, the library serves as a virtual gateway for education and recreation.

Read the whole story here. Then, write to your Assemblyfolk; tell them you support your local library and ask them to oppose the governor's proposed cuts and Assembly Bill A2555, which eliminates minimum libray funding. Please, write to them today!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What will we lose?

I hope you are still enjoying National Library Week! Visit your local library and tell them how much you appreciate what they do.

Local libraries do so much for people. Right now, funding is stressed and politicians see libraries as an easy thing to cut, even though library programs have been flat funded for 20 years- so it is hard to believe these small programs have caused the state's current fiscal crisis!Gov. Christie's proposed cuts would cause:
  • Libraries will lose 50% of state aid at a time when demand for services is increasing dramatically
  • More than half of public libraries will lose access to the Internet
  • Many libraries will lose email service
  • Many libraries will lose their websites or access to them
  • The Talking Book and Braille Center (known as the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) will close
  • Group contracts which bring down the cost of other electronic resources purchased by libraries will cease; regional library cooperatives will close
  • Access to electronic databases such as RefUSA and EBSCO will cease
  • Statewide interlibrary loan and delivery of library materials will cease
This is horrible. Please, make your voice heard. Write your Assemblyfolk and state Senator. Tell your legislators to STOP cuts in funding to Our Fair State's libraries. Visit for more information.

Monday, April 12, 2010

National Library Week

Happy National Library Week!

Honorary chairman Neil Gaiman discusses the importance of libraries to him personally.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Champion New Jersey's libraries!

Important links to defend Our Fair State's libraries: for more information on what services you and your town will lose, as well as why our libraries must be saved.

Become a Library Champion: Sign up to recieve information from the NJLA on legislative developments and contact points to defend your local library.

Save NJ Libraries!: Join the Facebook group for more information and updates.

Libraries prepare for budget impact: Geoff Wertime's article in the Register-News.