Camden mayor looks to keep libraries open

CAMDEN, N.J. - August 9, 2010

Mayor Redd said Monday that city officials will look to join the county library system.

The City Council must approve joining the county system.

"In the coming days my administration, working along with city council and the county, will take the appropriate steps needed to begin this process," said Mayor Redd.

The city's library board says it must close all three of its libraries by the end of the year because funding has been slashed so drastically that it can't afford to keep operating.

It's not know if Mayor Redd's plan would allow all three branches to stay open.

In addition to joining the County library system, Mayor Redd also announced that Rutgers University - Camden will continue its long-standing practice of allowing Camden residents to have access to the University's library and that library's computer lab.

Camden's Free Public library draws nearly 150,000 visits a year. Residents of all ages come to use the computers, read books, do research, and apply for jobs. Parents and children spend quality time, and many simply seek out a place of peace and quiet.

If Mayor Redd's plan is not approved, the plan would be to shut down one library branch next month, then another in October and the entire system would close on December 31st. The books would be sold, donated or possibly destroyed.

Mayor Redd was joined at Monday's news conference by county and local officials. Interestingly, no one was there representing the leadership of the city's library system.

26 other municipalities already participate in the Camden County Library System.

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