Essex Fells Cuts Funding to Caldwell Public Library
Residents' library cards will be inactive by end of month.
Caldwell Public Library patrons from Essex Fells will have their library cards deactivated by the end of the month.
Essex Fells notified Caldwell last week that the borough will no longer be paying Caldwell for library services, according to library director Adele Puccio.
The announcement signifies an $8,000 blow to the library’s bottom line.
Puccio said the library has been renewing the neighboring town’s patrons since the beginning of the year as a courtesy while waiting for Essex Fells' governing body to make a decision. The library currently has about 350 registered users from Essex Fells.
The decision is believed to be budgetary, Puccio said, adding that she hopes to have more information by the next meeting of the Caldwell Council, scheduled for Tuesday, March 20.
Messages left for the mayor of Essex Fells were not immediately returned.
“It's a blow,” Puccio said. “We're under the gun.”
Puccio said since housing evaluations have gone down, the minimum appropriation according to the state library has decreased. State funding has also been reduced. The library cut back on its hours several months ago as a result of the decrease in funding.
On a positive note, Puccio said, the library is benefiting from four work-study students from Caldwell College.
The students, who are being paid by the college, are putting in 30 or more hours a week collectively. They are filling in as pages, working in the children’s room and circulation desk, as well as helping out with publicity.
“Anything that really needs to be done,” Puccio said.
She said their presence has been welcomed particularly since two positions were eliminated at the library last year.