Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saloma Furlong Reports on Her Visit

"On Thursday, I did two talks -- one at Marion Manor for a book club. Frances Larkey, the events coordinator at the Caldwell Public Library, set up this talk. She thought we would have about 12 people show up, but more like 36 showed up for the talk. Then Frances took us out for a very enjoyable meal and chat before my talk at the Caldwell Public Library. Between 35 and 40 people showed up for that talk. I had a very pleasant surprise while setting up for the talk. I normally put on a CD of Amish church singing, as people are arriving. In this case, a woman was reading the New York Times, and suddenly she put down her paper and said, "Can you tell me what that music is?" I told her what it was, and she said it sounded just like the kind of singing that she grew up with at a Primitive Baptist Church, which I found fascinating. I invited her to give the audience a sampling of the singing she described, and she graciously did so -- and wow, what a powerful voice! Her name is Johnnie Jones Tucker, and she is a Gospel Singer/Songwriter/Writer/Poet. It was a pleasure to meet her.

"Frances Larkey is another example of a librarian who is not only congenial, but she also went above and beyond. She was a gracious and enthusiastic host, who was fun and easy to talk with. And she had obviously done a super job of promoting the event, judging by the enthusiasm of the comments and questions and the number of people who showed up."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Library Tax Line, But No New Taxes!

Although the Library will be making its first appearance on the latest tax bills, I want to make sure Caldwell residents know this is not a new or additional tax. In fact, the rate for minimum library funding has not changed since it was set in 1844.

“This law simply changes the way your tax bill looks,” says Library Board Chair Bernard McGovern. “It does not increase taxes.” Until this year, minimum library appropriations were part of the municipal tax rate. In March, a new law created a dedicated line item for libraries. Caldwell’s minimum funding requirement of “1/3 mill”, which means at least 33 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, has been in effect since the late 19th century.

The new law provides transparency. “Now residents throughout the state can see the minimum library funding on their property tax bills,” explains McGovern. While this does reduce the municipal tax levy and rate (by breaking out the library line item separately), it does not increase taxes or change existing financial, operational, personnel, or other relationships between the town of Caldwell and the Library.

For the average Caldwell taxpayer, the new tax line will be about $160 per household. “Your library card opens up a world of services -- books, databases, programs, computers, videos and music -- for you and your family,” continues McGovern. “Just taking out a few books or videos each year will cover your library tax.” The Library website -- http://www.caldwellpl.org/ -- includes a Library Value calculator that can help you make sure you are getting your money’s worth.

Your Library is More than Books

The Caldwell Library is the heart of our town. It's the first place where people new to Caldwell come and it's the place where generations of Caldwell families area have learned to read, to work together and to appreciate our wonderful community.

Since it opened in 1917, the Caldwell Library has had an impact that far exceeds its size. The mission of the Caldwell Public Library is “to provide our diverse community with a wide array of literary, cultural, historical, educational and social resources through personal service and innovative programs utilizing a range of learning technologies in a welcoming environment."