Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Monday, August 09, 2010

Here's hoping...

Camden, NJ Libraries Get Lifeline
Officials in New Jersey have apparently found a way to save the city of Camden's public library system in whole or part.

Last week came the report that Camden's library board had voted to close the three-branch system by the end of the year for lack of funding.

And the board said it wasn't bluffing in an attempt to squeeze more money out of Camden Mayor Dana Redd.

On Monday, Redd said a new plan called for the city's library system would join the county's, thereby maintaining library service in the hard-scrabble city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.
According to Wikipedia:
Although once a thriving center for manufacturing and industry, Camden is perhaps best known for its struggles with urban dysfunction. Three Camden mayors have been jailed for corruption, the most recent being Milton Milan in 2000. Since 2005 the school system and police department have been operated by the State of New Jersey; the takeover will expire in 2012. In 2009, Camden had the highest crime rate in the U.S. with 2,333 violent crimes per 100,000 people while the national average was 455 per 100,000 Camden public schools spend $17,000 per student per year yet only two thirds of the students graduate. Two out of every five residents are below the national poverty line.
Public libraries are not a luxury; they are vital, especially in a world where you can't apply for a job at even low-end jobs without going online. In a city like Camden, this is even more so. I hope they can save the libraries. It was looking last week like they would be the first system to totally shut its doors and liquidate their collections and facilities in the country. I'm glad there's a good chance that isn't going to happen now.

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