Friday, 27 May 2011 00:00
On May 14, the trustees of the Garden City Public Library voted to severely reduce its service hours. Effective June 1, the library will be open to the public nine fewer hours a week.
The library trustees claim that the reduction in operating hours is in response to budget cuts from the village board of trustees. However, in March, after comparing the Garden City Library to 54 other Nassau County libraries, the Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Committee (CBRAC) issued a unanimous report which stated that our village library is overstaffed and overfunded.
How did the library trustees respond? They disregarded the CBRAC’s comparative study and issued their own set of incorrect facts. For example, instead of having 20 support staff as the library trustees claimed, the library actually has 28.5 support staff when part-time employees are included in the count.
Instead of segregating themselves from the CBRAC, the library trustees should be working with all interested parties—including the village trustees, the property owners’ associations as well as the CBRAC—to look for ways to move in the opposite direction, to increase the hours of service.
As more and more residents use the library it has become a community anchor, something of a town plaza or main square of the village. Over the past year, as Steve Illardi pointed out recently at a village trustee meeting, more than 230,000 items were circulated, processed and re-shelved in 2010. The children’s department of the library had more than 420 programs with an attendance of more than 9,300. Students use the Young Adult library where they have their own computer to get help with their homework and school projects. The computer lab has 22 computers with Internet access and training classes are held regularly. Community groups use library space for their meetings.
Where else can you get so many different services under one roof?
As Mayor Donald Brudie pointed out at a recent board of trustees’ meeting on an unrelated matter, village problems will only be solved if we all work together. I hope the library trustees were listening to the mayor. This is no time to emulate the Lone Ranger.