Camden Libraries Closing

Max Meyers

In Camden NJ, a crisis is forming right in front of our eyes. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Camden Library System is closing all three of its libraries and dismissing all 21 employees due to budget cuts. Mayor Dana L. Redd cut the proposed 2011 budget from $389,000 to $281,000. Although Camden has been facing serious government budget cuts, some people consider this a scheme for the county to take the libraries’ land. Some Camden residents think this because the county jail and the courthouse are separated only by the Downtown Library. If the library were to close, Camden could build more prison space in order to accommodate the nation’s highest crime rate: 2,333 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

Frank Fulbrook, a library board member claims that “this was all a cynical ploy, the county and mayor manufactured a fiscal crisis for the libraries to shut down.” Camden county Freeholder also feels that “this is simply about municipality wanting to join the system,” and added that the land grab idea is ridiculous. From now until December 31st, the libraries will remain open thanks to a grant from the governors’ office. At that point, Camden will have to make some tough decisions: either letting their city become the 27th County Library System or simply shutting their city’s libraries down.

Unfortunately, Camden isn’t the only place where libraries are in jeopardy. Libraries in Stamford, Connecticut may be closing soon, and the Los Angeles Public Library System has recently cut down to after-school hours only as well. With all that is happening in the world right now and all of America’s economic troubles, we have to remember that a library is a safe haven of education. We cannot afford to have them simply disappear for our future generations.