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First Library Board Meeting After Sunday Closings Set for Tuesday

Board of Trustees to meet with public at 7 p.m.

For the first time since the Washington Township Library closed its doors to the public on Sundays, the institution’s Board of Trustees will meet.

A very heavy interest in the library’s Sunday closings – which have now endured two consecutive weekends – was taken by residents after the announcement was made in the first week of January.

The reason behind the closings was due to budget shortfalls, according to library director Jacqueline Zuzzi, The library will operate on a $938,920 budget in 2014, with an additional $8,000 from state aid.

By closing Sundays, Zuzzi said, the cost of payroll will decrease, but still doesn’t make up for the $176,824 lost in overall library funding in Washington Township since 2011.

“We’ve reduced costs over the years but we’ve gotten to a point where we can’t make ends meet,” Zuzzi said when the announcement was made. “It’s disappointing. But it would also be irresponsible of me to cut back programming or book or media purchases. That’s what we’re here for.”

Sundays were chosen as the day to close for a number of reasons, but the biggest of which was that staff was being paid time and-a-half to work between 1 and 5 p.m. at the library. Staff cuts were made, which led to the closure of Sundays.

The library’s largest budget item is staffing, but the organization also pays for its own services, including landscaping, snow removal, and building insurance, Zuzzi said. 

Residents spoke out on Patch when the report was made, and brought up numerous alternatives to bring to the board, including keeping the library open Sundays and staffed by volunteers, or staying open seven days per week but shortening hours on other days.

The meeting of the board of trustees is scheduled to take place at the library on Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. It is open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend. 

Guy Patterson February 03, 2014 at 09:01 PM
What's the matter? Can't justify the absurdity of closing the library on Sundays to save $9K? So much for you "respecting their judgment".
History WT February 03, 2014 at 09:34 PM
He doesn't care, Nedd. I don't care. Nobody cares about the library being open on Sunday except that guy you called a bible thumper two weeks ago. The Library Board doesn't even care. Most surrounding towns aren't open on Sunday. You know what would upset people? The internet being closed on Sunday. That would be a problem. As far as the current question, if they can find more hours to be open, why the hell they close on Friday and Saturday at 5:00 is beyond me. Sounds like employees are making the schedule.
Guy Patterson February 03, 2014 at 09:39 PM
Mendham and Chester are open on Sundays.
History WT February 03, 2014 at 10:32 PM
I wonder what the town would vote for: 1: current library. 2: library building, which is owned by town, turned into a community/arts center with a town pool and a computer lab, and some hefty reductions to the municipal budget.
Guy Patterson February 03, 2014 at 10:42 PM
The entire library budget is $937K. You think the town can operate a community center with a pool for less than this and still provide "hefty reductions in the municipal budget?" You really don't know much do you?
Shoeless Joe February 03, 2014 at 11:18 PM
I believe it would actually have to be voted on, as the town voted in the library. But a community center/town pool versus the library referendum. I can see the signage. Would liven up politics :-) And, yes, you sell memberships to the pool and it only requires employees three months per year, and the rest of the operation could be scaled any number of ways and have some revenue angles as well. Couldn't spend 900k if you burned dollar bills for heat.
Guy Patterson February 03, 2014 at 11:22 PM
This idea will get about as far as the Mayor's community center. Next.
WWJD February 04, 2014 at 02:51 PM
This community/arts center and the pool would probably be very useful and popular. I think in many towns it is the most used thing like Hackettstown and Chester. With the population of many languages a English library is less useful.
Guy Patterson February 04, 2014 at 02:57 PM
Based on what?
WWJD February 04, 2014 at 07:02 PM
I don't understand the question.
Guy Patterson February 04, 2014 at 07:09 PM
You said the "this community/arts center and the pool would probably be very useful and popular." Based on what?
Shoeless Joe February 04, 2014 at 09:39 PM
Waddya want pick apart his economic modelling? Report: library meeting non-event, less people than a normal meeting.
Guy Patterson February 04, 2014 at 09:57 PM
Economic model? LOL!
Shoeless Joe February 04, 2014 at 11:32 PM
Yes, he probably doesn't have an economic model. You win the thread, Nedd.
Guy Patterson February 05, 2014 at 09:56 AM
Checkmate!
Alice Jameson February 05, 2014 at 10:05 AM
There’s nothing like a Pyrrhic victory.
Not Jeff February 05, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Guy that is an excellent point! I assume you are referring too people sharing a game of chess at the Library. My opinion is that most people just feel Libraries are “inherently good”. It is hard to say no to something that most of us think is important and good. But times do change. Two parent working families, cost, use, time, internet, we all know the issues. I think most people, even without a huge economic plan in place, would enjoy and Arts and community center. Maybe make the library smaller and have it partially funded by the pool. Chester has a many members from Long Valley as does Hackettstown. Now please rip apart the idea instead of commenting on it, tell me I am stupid, my grammar sucks, I have no friends and the other things you negative Nancy’s will come up with.
Guy Patterson February 05, 2014 at 10:17 AM
The concept of a community center has merit. But until a via business plan is produced, it's just a pipe dream.
Guy Patterson February 05, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Btw...the library had over 100,000 patron visits last year along with over 70,000 virtual visits. That's a hell of a lot of people who just feel libraries are "inherently good".
Not Jeff February 05, 2014 at 11:20 AM
Not really sure what a 'patron visits" mean. Does that included people using library for internet access only, meetings, garden club, children reading, or any other type of gathering? Hard to comment without knowing the facts. These things could all be done at other places in town. Virtual visits seem very low to me. I assume a person accessing the libraries web site would be a virtual visitor.
Guy Patterson February 05, 2014 at 11:23 AM
A patron visit means they visited for any reason. Our library serves as a "de facto" community center.
Shoeless Joe February 05, 2014 at 12:19 PM
So you knock them dead last night Nedd? Did you figure out the one snowplow idea that might actually work?
Shoeless Joe February 05, 2014 at 12:21 PM
Give ya a hint, it has the letter "A" in it.
Not Jeff February 05, 2014 at 02:02 PM
Thank you for clarifying Ke..Guy. If those numbers are correct then the library is very lightly used in my opinion. There are many meetings held at the library. With all the school space available before and after hours , sounds like a lot of taxpayers money could be saved
Guy Patterson February 05, 2014 at 02:29 PM
You admit this is only your opinion. That is progress!
Not Jeff February 05, 2014 at 02:33 PM
Checkmate!!
History WT February 05, 2014 at 03:23 PM
Why do we want people on the raods going to the library on a snowy day? Supposed to stay off the raods. Stay home. Download a book from Amazon. And 100,000 through their door counter is light utilization. That includes every employee, delivery person, meeting room usage, computer usage....something under 30 an hour. I'd be interested how many library cards are run for dead tree books. Also, as said above, the daily use. But anyway, dead issue, Nedd's host did not emerge from behind the hill last night, nobody much cares about the library being closed on Sunday. Given the many, probably most suburban libraries that have made the same cost decision, probably for the best.
Guy Patterson February 05, 2014 at 03:45 PM
Funny how "snow days" bring out the worst in some people!
WWJD February 05, 2014 at 04:12 PM
What happened at this meeting? Was the community center pool discussed in the talks? Maybe best use?
Shoeless Joe February 05, 2014 at 04:14 PM
I can prrereetttyy much guarantee nobody brought up a a community center/town pool.

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