Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Highlands Public Library: Private dollars donated for public service

For the past twelve years, the National Education Association has been sponsoring "Read Accross America" during the month of March. Highlands Borough is supporting this literacy campaign with an event at our firehouse on March 11, 2009. Children and adults are encourage to participate by volunteering as a reader, listening, or sharing how reading can shape our lives. Now seems a fitting time to post an update on efforts to establish a public library in our Borough.

Members of the Borough Council have created a Dedicated Trust by Rider for the purpose of fundraising in support of a public library in the Borough of Highlands. The Highlands Public Library Committee was created in 2008 and meets every first and third Friday of the month at 10:00 a.m. in the Borough Hall meeting room. So far, architectural drawings have been received depicting the old Borough Hall and a proposed retrofit for the old firehouse bay to incorporate shelving donated by the Monmouth County Eastern Branch Library as well as multiuse library/meeting space. It has even been proposed that when the library is not in use by the public, the space might be used by Borough employees who need expanded space to complete office projects, or by councilmembers, the administrator and/or Borough professionals for meeting purposes. Borough Council meetings may continue in the current Council meeting chambers, or could be rotated to other locations in the Borough to permit multipurpose use of that space as well. Most recently an experience contractor has agreed to scope the retrofit project for review by the Borough Engineer. Materials can be purchased with donated funds held in the Dedicated Trust, or can be donated to the project.

The Library Project is a community effort for the benefit of residents of all ages. The pro bono services of an attorney have been secured for the purpose of establishing a 501(c)(3) corporation that will conducting additional fundraising and management of the Highlands Public Library in cooperation with the Borough of Highlands in an Association Library structure. The Library Committee and I will keep you updated on developments as they occur.