Budget Down, Programs Up in Chester Library
Tutoring programs and e-reader downloads on the rise.
While it is never easy to give a budget presentation to the entire assembled mayors and councils of Chester Borough and Chester Township, library director Lesley Karczewski had an easy time because she came loaded with good news.
“We had over 150,000 people walk through our doors and not all of them were there to take out books,” Karczewski said. “A lot of people come in for a program or to use our computers.”
According to Karczewski more than 300 programs were staged at the library in 2012 and over 5700 people came to them over the course of the year. One of the programs was a demo on how to download library books into e-readers. Karczewski also said the library launching a new website was a big accomplishment last year, she was most proud of the tutoring program which.
“Probably the thing I am proudest of is the student mentoring program pairing IB students from Mendham High School with Bragg School fifth graders,” Karczewski said. “Its working so well we’re having a waiting list so we reached out to Central High School to get a couple of mentors as well. They have a really good time and they don’t want to stop.”
Chester Borough Council President Tim Iversen asked if the mentors needed to be limited to IB students.
“No. It was kind of an easy group to capture,” Karczewski said.
Chester Township Mayor Bill Cogger suggested Karczewski reach out to AP students to help fill out the program and eliminate the wait list.
Cogger also said he was pleased that the budget went down, but Karczewski said they would have to be careful this year and beyond.
“We had to bring forward some savings from last year to balance the budget. If we continue to have to do that it is going to get harder and harder going forward,” Karczewski said.
Cogger asked that Karczewski communicate if she sees trouble on the horizon.
“If you see yourself reaching a shortfall we need to know about that as quickly as possible,” Cogger said.