Library foundation to halt operations, board delays blamed

The Foundation for the Trenton Free Public Library, a group of citizens who came together last year to help the city library system through a prolonged fiscal crisis, has decided to halt operations and cease fundraising in the face of continued stonewalling by the library board of trustees.

The final straw was apparently Monday’s board meeting.

The trustees, led by President Adrienne Hayling, called for amendments to a memorandum of understanding between the board and the foundation that would have provided a measure of accountability as to how the foundation’s funds would have been used at city libraries.

This final delay, coming on the heels of eight months’ worth of delays since the foundation came together in October of 2008, brought home the realization that the board of trustees was not working with the foundation in good faith, as open and willing partners, wrote Kevin Moriarty, a foundation leader.

Despite the decision to halt fundraising operations, the foundation has decided to dispose of the approximately $17,300 that were raised in support of the libraries in a way acceptable to both foundation members and the libraries’ leadership.

It is apparent that the board, which has frittered away millions of dollars in library endowment money, is unwilling to accept desperately needed financial support if such support comes with requirements of accountability.

Such a position serves only to further compromise Trenton’s libraries, an asset of immense value in a city saturated with social and economic problems that make institutions such as libraries that much more important.

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