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Between The Lines
I read Ms. Kathryn Neal’s diatribe against the Mercer County Library System for its "inconsistent" holiday schedule (U.S. 1, May 30). For 30 years I have been patronizing the various Mercer Country library branches, and I have found the schedule to be remarkably consistent. Imagine the period before that when one had to wait for the bookmobile to make its rounds.
Ms. Neal’s main complaint regards the closure of the branches over the Memorial Day weekend and on Mother’s Day. The Lawrence Township Memorial Day services were observed on Saturday, May 26, and I would expect the library to be closed in deference to those who had fallen in service to their country, and for library staff to remember their loved ones who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
As for Mother’s Day, which is always on a Sunday, it is through the good graces of the Mercer County administration that any branches are open at all on Sunday for nine months of the year. To be closed on Mother’s Day affords library staff "a better thing to do to celebrate Mother’s Day than to take (their) children to (someplace other than) the library" – their workplace – and perhaps spend the day with their own mothers.
Federal, city, state and (the rest of county) government offices are always closed on Mother’s day – a Sunday. They are also always closed for all three days of the Memorial Day weekend. Ms. Neal observed that the Princeton library was open on May 26, with its wonderful new cafe and gift shop, so why the consternation about the county libraries being closed?
As for "free" entertainment, I am sure the Princeton University Museum was open that day.
As for the complaint that the Mercer County library system "shuts down at their whim," I have always found notices about their closures posted well in advance. This, of course, is a lending library and unlike many other libraries, there is a very generous 50-item limit to the number of books that can be borrowed. The libraries also have a remarkable collection of music and videos, so a three-day weekend could be spent at home reading, watching, and discussing classic literature and film adaptations of it, or film documentaries and non-fiction volumes about a host of subjects.
This issue of U.S. 1 is coming to you on Tuesday, July 3, rather than our customary Wednesday. Those of you stuck in town because of the midweek holiday may find our day-by-day listings helpful, particularly those that appear on page 17. The holiday, fortunately, also turns out to be a busy day. Perhaps we will see you at the Princeton Cemetery.
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