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Debate Over Library Framed as Cost Vs. Convenience

Moorestown library director Joe Galbraith says the library's as popular as it's ever been, but the township's looking for ways to scale it back.

Circulation numbers at the aren’t down—it just may be that what’s being checked out, and how often it’s being taken out, is changing.

According to library director Joe Galbraith, the library recorded almost exactly the same number of checkouts—the number of times any books, CDs, DVDs, etc. were taken out of the library—in 2010 and 2011: 170,166 and 169,990, respectively.

Not much to see there, according to Galbraith.

However, Monday perhaps tell a different story. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of items checked out of the library multiple times decreased drastically, and the number of items not checked out at all jumped from 46,049 to 83,997. According to Carew’s numbers, which he crunched with Galbraith, a total of 37,568 items weren’t checked out at all in 2010 or 2011.

Carew indicated the numbers reflect a growing trend in library usage: “The electronic media that we’ve been discussing probably has a lot to do with this.”

But Galbraith said some of those numbers are variable, like the percentage of items taken out zero times.

“That number is not significant,” he said. “It might shift.”

What may be significant is how the township uses those numbers to inform its decisions concerning the new library. Carew has some of the library’s undercirculated books in “closed stacks”: an unfinished—and more important to the township, cheaper—section of the library, where they would be less accessible, but still available to the public.

Galbraith has argued against closed stacking, pointing out the majority of library users are browsers, who may take a book off the shelf, flip through its pages, but never check it out. Statistics don’t measure that, he said, and reducing browseability might turn off some library patrons.

He also suggested taking items off the floor could be a drain on library staff, who would then be tasked with going to retrieve them when patrons ask. He used the 37,568 items not checked out between 2010 and 2011 as an example.

“If you put a third of your collection in closed stacking, your staff’s going to be mighty busy,” he said.

Though he and the township may not see eye to eye on the issue, Galbraith said Carew and other members of the township administration have continuously kept him in the loop and sought his counsel.

“I’m more than confident Mr. Carew will be very cautious in thinking this through with me,” Galbraith said, adding he understands where Carew and council are coming from.

“If they could get the moon and the stars for the amount of money they want to spend, they would,” said the library director. “But they’re looking at trying to do something in the most inexpensive way possible. I don’t know that that’s the right approach.”

Are you serious????? January 13, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Is I the only one feelin like gw is lecterin us? Who died and named ya king gw? Or is you the spokes guy for the boys runnin the town. Not the ones we lected, the other boys
Samstag January 14, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Listen folks, I'm going to be Honest here. We as a town need to keep focused. First, it would be a big 180 turn on the library and it's timing if we go back to renovating the existing building. That would be a hard reverse of gears. Second, there will be no joining the county library. We've been down that road and the county isn't interested. Also I believe most wouldn't be on favor of it. Thirdly, although "king George" as you'd like to call him , should get some credit for being on that "blue ribbon" panel and giving some suggestions. The library wants 26000sq ft, and townncouncil feels 24000sqft or roughly 10-15% could could be shaved. Everyone needs to be on the same page with the library. If we are to change to a rehab which sounds late in the game again, the architect will need to redraft and what we want to do with the new building. So far, it appears that council will be going ahead as is. Any thoughts? The next town council meeting is 1/23/12
Are you serious????? January 14, 2012 at 12:37 AM
I say we drag this out until November and give somebody else a shot at it. Lord knows gw and hb and their hand picked kindfolk ain't gitner done
Samstag January 14, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I'm sorry that one person here wants to make it a political issue rather than a town issue. The other side of the aisle had their chance and in 2008 the people spoke "it is what it is" and that's "a no brainer", we folks, at least are trying to get something done here.
utr January 14, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Well said Mr Testa.
G. Williams January 14, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Francis, The infamous Task Force, as you call us, does not decide the size of the Library, the township does.
Are you serious????? January 14, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Testa? Dang I thunk it was petey. I gots to get away from the still
Samstag January 14, 2012 at 02:30 AM
I must agree with my friend George on that frank.
diehardrep January 14, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Are you serious, Hay MT looks like youall been exposed. Thanks utr. What's he gonna do now.
Are you serious????? January 14, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Come on son! Is your side of the isle that messed up that you think i is on of your blowhard kinfolk? Dang I thought I was spending to much time near the still. You sure do no how to hurt a fella
Are you serious????? January 14, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Was any folk rootin for library on your lil task force g? What about them folks always hollerin at your boys abut the Rex center?
GOP '12 January 14, 2012 at 08:06 PM
So mr serious, who is seriously running for Council?
Good buzz January 15, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Are we talking GOP or dems? I guess gbt they are up for Reelection and dems.. Wow that appears to be an unknown. We know they have played the "switcheroo" game a few times in the past, or placeholder strategy. If anyone else has other info or rumors , I'm sure they would hear
Staggy Testa January 15, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Mr. Testa - Samstag - in a catch 22. There is no good rationale for destroying our good public library. He has no excuse. Doesn't give one. Simply not in his plan. Says, time being wasted. Doesn't care about taxpayer dollars. Doesn't care about $4,000,000.00 going down the drain. As a Moorestown Republican on social security paying high taxes and more taxes, I am terribly applauded as a Republican by Mr. Testa's wasteful actions. Don't ring my door bell for my vote.
GOP=nitwits January 15, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Do you know the only worse than bi-partisan politics in a small town? Watching members of one party attack each other, pathetic! And this is what is leading our town? You should be ashamed! It is clear to anyone that has attended council meetings that pete Miller appears every day under a new screen name, asking who is running or are gbt running? Pete, you don't know yet? then there is loge, posing as homebrew and bashing the council he handpicked. I am sure locateli is lurking but give williams credit for coming out of the shadows. he offended people with his tone but he is at least out in the open. I am sure Testa and Gallo and the others are lurking on here with some bs name but i had to laugh this morning when one nitwit called out another nitwit as testa. Pete, you should be offended, being called Testa! You really should have stuck to bragging about how things were years ago when your dad was in control. do you know what you nitwits have done by running around town, trying to figure out if your incumbents are running and trying to come up with a new slate, heck I even heard there is a faction of your chrished mrmc that is going independent, you've set the table for a democratic takeover, again! And for that we thank you! nitwits
Samstag January 16, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Ok Nitwits, is that the best you can come up with? Why is it that your side always attacks on speculation and with no facts? Who is running on your ticket? Can't find anyone can you?
Tom Harrigan January 17, 2012 at 01:44 AM
I use the Library. I have a Library card. I check out both hard copy and ebooks. I use the reference sections and seek help from the reference librarians. I work in the meeting room for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program. I think the Library is a vital service to the citizens of Moorestown. I am wondering if the decision makers actually use the Library and understand its value to the Town. Can we find out how many on Town Council have a Library card? The idea of using the number of times a book is checked out more than 10 times a year as a basis for a decision just doesn't make sense to me. Mr. Galbraith has shown that the total number of items checked out has not gone down. I believe that the number of people coming to the Library each day has not reduced either. My understanding is that so far we have spent almost $3 million and are completely back to square 1. I don't know what can be done but throwing more money at the "problem" does not seem like a good idea. We should require that decisions concerning the Library are made by people who use it.
Staggy Testa January 17, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Tom Harrigan, Mr. Testa will not understand your common sense, linear logic. Way over his head. Mr. Testa only wants what Mr. Testa wants. So, you may have to use another approach. I understand Mr. Testa wants to be our new mayor of moorestown since mr. button is retiring and leaving moorestown.
Our Town January 17, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Sounds to me like we need some expert library consultants to help us sort out this conundrum.
JustWondering January 17, 2012 at 03:46 PM
It's been done - by Library Development Solutions, in 2007.
Library Ladies January 17, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Learn how to read REPUBLICANS! We need more space not less http://www.moorestown.lib.nj.us/spaceanalysis.pdf
Our Town January 17, 2012 at 06:21 PM
5 years ago and still no plan? I'll reiterate that we need another top dollar study by library 'experts' (please allow me to contain myself) to hold on to a dinosaur of an idea that more space when used as inefficiently and wastefully as it currently is really what the town needs and that heaven forbid, someone asks for help locating a book from storage that hasn't been touched let alone checked out in 3 years. Can we really still rely on a study that said magazine subscription will grow by 2025? Magazines will be extinct by 2025. Seems like the library needs not more space, but more sense about where the future is headed.
Political utr January 17, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I suspect a "serious" "nit wit" could be a former democrat town councilperson? Quite interesting .
Republican Republican January 18, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Our Town, thanks Mayor Button. Now that we know Mayor Button is not running, who will lead all these expensive project started by Mayor Button this year? Where will our leadership come from? I understand Mr. Gallo is retiring also, so we are left with Mr. Testa, who I understand want to be our new Mayor. Only problem, Mr. Testa has some hot button issues. Am I correct?
Referee January 19, 2012 at 01:22 PM
So does anyone want to confirm or deny "republican" statement as fact?
utr January 19, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Ask Samstag or Donnerstag since today is Thursday. He seems to be in the know.
GOP referee January 19, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Easy there, you just may get two different answers on that one.
Donnerstag January 19, 2012 at 05:50 PM
It's.a cold one. Ich hoffe, meine Freunde haben eine gute Zeit heute Abend
utr January 19, 2012 at 09:02 PM
This might be more appropriate. Behandlung von meinem Freund auch
Republican Republican January 19, 2012 at 09:12 PM
The word on Main Street in Moorestown is that Mayor Button is retiring from office and is moving away from Moorestown to his summer home. Now that we know Mayor Button is not running again for Mayor, who will lead all these expensive projects started by Mayor Button this year? Where will our leadership come from? I understand Mr. Gallo is retiring also. So we are left with Mr. Testa, who wants to be our new Mayor. Only problem, Mr. Testa has some hot button issues.

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