Tag Archives: library

Millville City Commission Work Session

Commissioner McQuade was absent due to his parents’ funerals. My condolences to him and his family. Losing both parents in a week is beyond my experience.

Courtenay Reece provided a presentation to the Commission regarding the library. Reece has revitalized the library that was in the dumpster before her arrival.

She highlighted the five literacies that the library serves.

  • Reading and Writing (the original literacy)
  • Content/Disciplinary Literacy (content & thinking specific to a discipline)
  • Information Literacy (the traditional library curriculum)
  • Digital Literacy (how and when to use various technologies)
  • Media Literacy (published works—encompasses all other literacies)
  • *Health literacy: snack kits
  • *Financial literay

Millville provides money to the library as well as maintenance. How much money does the city provide the library? Who owns the library?

It was stated that the Gant Room will become an autonomous room. I think this is an outstanding idea. As one who has tried to secure meeting space in this city for a group, there is a severe lack of space. The 8:00 library closing is problematic for many groups, particularly when they shoo you out at 7:45.

Angela Broomhall and Tim Carty discussed the proposed positions that the Commission is making. From what I understand, Brock Russell is being brought in-house as the city solicitor. It was stated that he wouldn’t be doing outside work. Can that be correct? If I wanted a divorce this year, he wouldn’t represent me? What happens to his paralegal at his practice? He’s going to work for $160,000 annually and no benefits? Something doesn’t sound right with this.

Millville will need a paralegal on staff. Broomhall and Carty’s concern is that this places another person on the payroll. Commissioner Sooy thinks this will save money. He has promised to break down the savings/expense after a year.

Carty made a good point about tabling the hiring until a cost analysis can be presented to the public. I am all for transparency. I don’t think the Commission is going to do this, however.

Commissioner Sooy addressed the trash issue. Millville outsourced its trash collection to the ACUA/ That’s Atlantic County. ACUA is having staffing troubles. After the snow trash wasn’t picked up. This is not just Millville. Vineland, for instance, has declared it will not pay ACUA. Sooy is trying to work with ACUA to find a solution. It sounds like he wants to use Millville employees on off times and deduct the money it pays those employees from what is owed to ACUA. This sounds okay. What I am uncertain of is what vehicles would be used. I think he indicated Millville employees would use ACUA vehicles. Would ACUA permit that?

Mayor Orndorf indicated that the invocation/prayer will remain at the beginning of the meetings. Apparently, there was a letter stating it should be abolished. While I would not have an issue if it were abolished, it doesn’t bother me that there is an invocation at the start of the meeting.

Dot . . . Dot . . . Dot . . .

“One-termer and a two-timer . . .”
“One-termer and a two-timer . . .”

Scalia is brilliant! His appearance with Chris Wallace was just another datum to prove that . . . Hey, I won the Wizbang! caption contest two weeks ago . . . Loved listening to Bezos interview with Kindle Chronicles . . . I challenge one to tell me what hours the Millville Public Library is open. I can’t find that information on their web site . . . The organization never ends. Today I tossed 20 years of lesson plans but kept every observation, annual review, certificate of training, etc. . . .

The Future of Public Libraries

Recently I purchased a Kindle. I love it. Even before I purchased it, I knew that my future would have digital books. It just makes sense.

I keep trying out new things and sources for the Kindle. One of those is the public library. I downloaded a book last week and read it. At that time, I also reserved a book that was not available. Today I received notification that the book is now ready for me to download.

A couple of thoughts regarding this . . . the process is far more efficient than with regular books. I suspect that this is because the folks in Millville really had nothing to do with this. It is the Overdrive system that handled my request, not my local library.

And that brings us to the future of public libraries. If we all see that the future is digital books, and those requests can be handled by computers and systems that are merely subscriptions, will there be a need for a physical library?

What about the poor, Bob? Are you considering the disadvantage?

What will the poor read digital books on? Are they going to shell out $150 for a Kindle? What about $79 for the cheapo version? Probably not.

But that really brings up a totally different issue. If digital books can only be read on Kindles, Nooks, etc., digital books are not being used by the poor or disadvantaged since they don’t have these devices.

Many tout public libraries because it gives the poor access to computers. And while those computers could run the Kindle app, I suspect no one is reading a digital book on one of the library’s computers.

So, who are the digital books for? Taxpayers foot the bill for the subscription to the Overdrive system. I am able to download these digital books to my Kindle. The thing is, if I can afford to purchase a $150 Kindle, I can afford to purchase the book. Why should the taxpayers subsidize my reading or anyone else’s?

Are you comfortable with your tax dollars funding reading for those who can afford it on their own?

It’s the Little Things

11-10-25 It's the Little Things

Somehow I ended up telling Beetle that if she were good today we would go to the library. Apparently, Beetle took to that. She was excited when I arrived home to go to the library. I ensured she sat down and completed her homework. Once done, we took off to the Millville Public Library.

Beetle was thrilled that she was permitted to check out Ranger Rick magazine. She selected three editions. She also selected three scary books. These are part of a series (Shivers). She isn’t quite up to Goosebumps, but these are similar to them, written on her level.

Of course, Daddy picked up a couple books too.

Beetle is really cute. I liked our jaunt to the library.

Millville Public Library Continues to Fail Its Customers

The Millville Public Library is funded through tax dollars. I have documented plenty of failings of this organization. Unfortunately, for local taxpayers, the failings continue.

Recently I read The Reading Promise. This book was written by a Millville resident. Most of the story takes place in Millville. I came by this book from a Toastmaster in Mt. Laurel, not from Millville. I thought it odd that I hadn’t heard of the book.

Researching Alice Ozma a bit, I noticed that she presented at the Millville Public Library in May. How come I hadn’t heard of that?

Then it hit me! I subscribe to the library’s RSS feed of events. I went and checked. Guess what? The library did not push that information out to subscribers. I have 194 updates from the library going back to June 2009; not one of them addresses this event.

Why have a feed of events if all events aren’t included? Of course, looking just now, I am the only subscriber to this feed. One way to interpret this is that the library continues to single me out for that extra-special lousy service. Splendid!

For the record, I would have attended had I known about the event.

Millville Public Library: Fail

I have had plenty of disappointments with the Millville Public Library over the years. Today they continued. It baffles me why taxpayers continue to fund this rag-tag operation.

One of the good things about Cumberland County is the CLUES system. CLUES is a network of public libraries in the county. Books are exchanged freely from one library to the next. It makes for a cleaner environment as one doesn’t need to travel far to get resources as they will be delivered locally. Likewise, returning books is equally convenient. So, residents in Millville who have a little library have access to far more resources than it normally would because it can access all the resources from the better library.

Of course, this is only so when the system works.

A couple weeks ago I requested the book A Visit from the Goon Squad. A book club I am involved in decided to read it. There is one copy in Cumberland County and it was checked out. I placed a hold on the book. I submitted that I wanted to pick it up in Millville.

Today, I happened by the Vineland library. They had a book I wanted to read and I returned a couple books Beetle checked out. I inquired if they could tell me when the Good Squad book was due to be returned. The librarian informed me it was in Millville. Oh.

I stopped by on the way home. Sure enough, the book was on the hold shelf with my name on it. How I was to know that without being informed it was there, I do not know.

It seems like the Millville library does nothing correct. I don’t know why I continue to make use of it.

Overstepping Its Purview

We like libraries. As a matter of fact, despite being fiscally tight with tax dollars, public libraries are a good use of public money. But like all public expenditures, libraries are finding their funds being cut to share the sacrifice, as it were.

Libraries are being resourceful, however. New Jersey libraries have found $1.7 million available. That’s great!

Or is it?

The $1.7 million is coming from the US Department of Agriculture.

Using stimulus money, the USDA Rural Development program has earmarked $100 million out of the Community Facilities fund to help public libraries cover certain costs, said Howard Henderson, rural development manager for the USDA in New Jersey. For the Garden State, that amounts to $1.7 million in loan money and $500,000 in grants.

What does the USDA have to do with libraries? Yeah, we haven’t figured that out yet either. A quick check of the Constitution reveals no delegation of powers to the federal government to prop up public libraries in times of economic hardship. So, how does USDA justify stepping in?

It is easy to look at this and feel empathy for libraries. They serve a useful purpose. They are relatively inexpensive. So even if the state shorts them, what’s $1.7 million from the federal coffers?

But that’s the thing. We are supposed to be reforming government. That means holding government responsible for what it is charged to do. The corollary to that is to ensure government does not dabble in what it is not charged to do. The federal government has no business in New Jersey’s public libraries. Even the most dramatic bastardization of the Commerce Clause cannot grant an entree to this issue.

Are you prepared to tell the feds to butt out?

Funding Millville’s Public Library

My love of reading has had me as a proponent of public libraries. Many conservatives eschew this government expense. I reason that the library is available to all citizens equally. Libraries improve citizens. Overall, the price of running a library is relatively small compared to other services. Public libraries are generally a good thing.

When I moved to Cumberland County in 1994, I was impressed with the CLUES system. CLUES is a county-wide system of public libraries. One’s library card works at all the libraries. Over the years, the CLUES card catalog has been placed online. This allows one to search from home for a resource. Living where I do, it is fairly convenient to hit most of the libraries in the county. Furthermore, libraries work together; one can request a book from library to be delivered to another, can return a book checked out from one library at another, and so forth.

I have used Vineland’s library most frequently. I believe it is the largest in the county. It is very convenient to my work. Furthermore, my district has helped a lot with the technology at the library. There used to be a computer I retired from a school I worked at used at the library. Their children’s department is well-organized and well-staffed.

I do like to do things in the town I live in. Millville’s library is small. They do have a nice reading room of New Jersey resources. I have used that quite a bit during my time. The library reminds me a lot of Cape May’s public library. Being small means there are fewer resources, but the CLUES system really expands the library’s collection.

A small town is never going to have a world-class library. The way such a library excels is through service. Unfortunately, service at the Millville Public Library is lacking. I have detailed some of the issues in the past.

There was another time when I sought a book that I could not find on the shelves. I recruited help. The librarian could not find the book either. She suggested it was either misplaced or stolen. Yet, she seemed not at all concerned. She did not take down the book’s name, ISBN, etc. in order to flag the listing in the card catalog. She just didn’t care that a book was not available.

Yet, Millville’s Public Library keeps requesting more money. It states it cannot provide the public with the services a library should. Not flagging a book you know is missing does not require more funds. Placing a book that is in your possession on the shelf is not something that requires more funds. Why would the public want to reward a public entity that is not serving the public? This is one of those times when a “business” needs to excel on its own before more money is provided.

But that didn’t prevent Millville’s City Commission from increasing the library’s budget by 5% this year. Yet, the Commission didn’t highlight this increase, at least the way it was reported, when it voted to increase property taxes last week.

Health benefits for employees of the five city unions have increased 18 percent over the past year and are responsible for 5.2 cents of the increase. Salary increases account for about a penny of the increase, and pensions more than a penny.

A careful reader will note that that those expenditures only add up to 7.2 cents. The library’s budget increase is about a quarter-cent of the 8-cent increase. In my opinion, the library has done nothing to earn a budget increase. That it got one in the middle of the worst economy since the Great Depression while the City Commission decried the tough budget decisions it made is ludicrous!