America

Camden, NJ Libraries Get Lifeline

Camden, NJ library

Camden residents use the computers at the city's Main Branch library, Friday, Aug. 6, 2010. Jessica Kourkounis/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jessica Kourkounis/AP

Officials in New Jersey have apparently found a way to save the city of Camden's public library system in whole or part.

Last week came the report that Camden's library board had voted to close the three-branch system by the end of the year for lack of funding.

And the board said it wasn't bluffing in an attempt to squeeze more money out of Camden Mayor Dana Redd.

On Monday, Redd said a new plan called for the city's library system would join the county's, thereby maintaining library service in the hard-scrabble city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.

So it seemed a lot more likely Monday than Friday that Camden's residents, many of whom fall below the federal poverty line, will still be able to get access to a library's computers and books.

Somewhere poet Walt Whitman, Camden's most famous man of letters, must be smiling. Ditto for Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin, the creator of one of the nation's earliest lending libraries.

The Associated Press also reports the following:

Redd also said she's in discussions to get residents access to Rutgers University's Camden campus library.

The City Council must approve joining the county system.

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