Last night, the Board of Trustees of the Middletown Township Public Library voted in favor of the proposed budget. The budget was prepared by the finance committee with the assistance of the director, Susan ONeal and voted on by the entire Board of Trustees. The finance committee met with the volunteer branch representatives on two occasions and discussed the services of the library that were most desired at the different branches. The Finance committee made the recommendation to the Board to take the following actions:
- To completely close the Lincroft Branch, vacate the property, and return the property to the Middletown Board of Education. There are significant maintenance issues with the building and going forward, the Library does not have the resources to make the necessary upgrades. The reading material in the building will be allocated to the Main Library first, and offered to the Lincroft Elementary School, Luftman Towers/Pavilion, or other senior living center.
- To maintain a computer center at the Bayshore Branch in the Port Monmouth section of the township. The reading material in the building will be allocated to the Main Library first and offered to the surrounding elementary schools thereafter.
- To cease staffing and funding to the Navesink Branch. The entire contents of the building will remain in the custody of the Navesink Duryea Association. If at some time the Association desires to empty the space, the material will revert to the Library.
There has been much criticism over these decision to close the branches and it was a quite difficult one for the Board of Trustees to make. The Main Library facility on New Monmouth Road was the focus of the budget and will be for the coming years. As the hub of library services to the people of Middletown, it has a large, diverse collection of materials, is open seven days a weeks for the convenience of the public and has staff that is well trained, knowledgeable and eager to serve.
The last few years, the Library has seen a steady decrease in statutory municipal allocation. This revenue decrease required a budget that reflected these decreases in some form. The Board of Trustees is clearly aware that there may be a drop in statutory municipal allocation next year as well due to hurricane damaged rateables within the township and desired to maintain a small surplus to maintain the services offered at the Main branch in the coming years. The Board of Trustees would like to thank the following people for the time and efforts over the past three months:
Susan O’Neal, MTPL- Director
Jim Van Nest,
Members of the Finance Committee
Mike Winchell -Navesink Branch Volunteer Representative
Bernadette Massey – Bayshore Branch Volunteer Representative
Melanie Elmiger- Lincroft Branch Volunteer Representative