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Save the Date: Gala to Benefit Public Library

Former and current Caldwell mayors team up to raise money for library.

Caldwell's current and former mayors are teaming up to help the . 

The Mayors Legacy for Literacy, a fundraiser organized by the Caldwell Public Library Foundation along with Mayor Ann Dassing and past Mayor Susan Gartland, will be held on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the  in North Caldwell. 

The goal of the fundraiser, Dassing said Tuesday, is “to close the budget gap” caused by the reduction in the town’s valuation. Dassing said the goal is to raise around $50,000.

“The way that the state values how much a town has to contribute to a library is based on housing values,” explained Director Adele Puccio. “Since housing values have dropped the amount of funding that the library gets directly has dropped.”

In 2011, the library received $370,000, compared to $359,000 in 2012.

“We are at a bare bones $390,000 operating budget,” Puccio said.

The library has made a number of adjustments, including eliminating a full-time position, reducing hours and cutting back on materials.

Funds raised by the gala, Puccio said, can help the library purchase new materials, add programs and provide more services to the public.

N.J. Governor Thomas Kean, Immediate Past Chairman of The Carnegie Foundation, will be honored at the Mayor’s Legacy for Literacy.

The Caldwell Public Library is one of 36 Carnegie libraries built in New Jersey and one of more than 2,500 libraries founded around the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with money donated by Andrew Carnegie, a businessman and philanthropist.

Puccio said Carnegie gave Caldwell $10,000 in 1908 to build the library, which opened in 1917. About a third of the Carnegie libraries in the state have closed, according to Puccio. The library in Montclair, for one, is now home to a Unitarian church.

Andrew Carnegie once said, “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

“He was saying that in a democracy this is one true very Democratic institution,” Puccio said. “Anybody can use a public library.”

Anyone interested in supporting the Caldwell Public Library is invited to attend the Mayor’s Legacy for Literacy, on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 6 to 10 p.m., at the Green Brook Country Club in North Caldwell. Tickets are $90. There will be dinner and raffles. For tickets, call 973-403-0032.

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