Library Hours Need Improvement
The following letter to the editor was also sent to the Mercer County Board of Freeholders.
I am writing to complain about the holiday schedule for the Mercer County Library system. I moved to the area a couple of years ago and I still do not understand it.
For example, this weekend, both Princeton and New Brunswick public libraries were open on Saturday, May 26. The Mercer County system, however, was closed. This was ostensibly for the Memorial Day holiday, but the holiday is on Monday. Is there some reason the Mercer County system was closed on Saturday? When did one holiday turn into a three-day stretch?
I was equally confused when I found out that the Mercer County system was to be closed on Mother’s Day. Is Mother’s Day an official holiday recognized by the state or the federal government with city, state, or federal offices being closed on that day? I have never heard of such a thing.
One of the reasons I am upset is because I have to drive several miles to get to my local branch or the main headquarters. So when the Mercer County library system shuts down at their whim, that makes it even more difficult for me to get there.
When I saw the sign in the library that said it would be closed all weekend, my first thought was: what in the world do they think families are going to do over a three-day weekend? Most adults work in this society, not all, but most. And most of us work five days a week. The weekend may be the best and only time we can get to the library. Even Mother’s Day. What better thing to do to celebrate Mother’s day than to take one’s children to the library. If you think about the various places centered in a community and open to the public, how many choices are there that do not cost an arm and a leg? The mall? The movies?
My request is that the Mercer library system simply follow the basic rules around holidays that the rest of society follows. If they are not going to do that, then keep at least one branch open on a Saturday when the county library system will be closed.
If anyone wants to understand the need for libraries, they should go over to the Barnes and Noble in the Marketfair shopping center, which is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Try and find a seat in there on the weekend. This is one reason why Princeton made the investment to re-build their library with a cafe inside. I am sure they are making money hand over fist and doing wonderful community programming because of this simple idea. And because they have a consistent holiday schedule.
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Correction: The photo of David Smith of Visionsmith (U.S. 1, May 23) was taken by Cleve Massey.