Tuesday, July 27,
2004 BERNIE MIXON Courier-Post Staff CAMDEN
Goal is for neighbors
to want to convene
Two new libraries planned for Camden by Garrison Architects will be
like other libraries, complete with reference materials and reading
But more than just a keeper of information, the libraries will play
the role of convener as they take on the role as meeting place for residents
in Centerville and Cramer Hill.
The libraries - each with a meeting room that accommodates about 150
people - represent a growing trend as more libraries become neighborhood
"The library has become a community center and in some ways a cultural
center," said Carol Brey-Casiano, president of the American Library
Association. "This is something we are seeing happening across
the country. It is somewhat of a return of the role in the last century."
More activities are now centered in buildings once associated with stern-looking
librarians who made silence a way of life. Some libraries have built
fireplaces and comfortable reading rooms into their layout, Brey-Casiano
Camden County Freeholder Riletta Cream, liaison to the Camden County
Library System, has worked for years to bring state-of-the-art libraries
to Camden. "A library is very important, especially with trying
to encourage our young people to read more," said Cream, a former
educator. "If they don't know anything about the Internet, if they
don't know anything about computers, they can avail themselves of that
The libraries, each about 15,000 square feet, will be located at 29th
Street and River Road in Cramer Hill and at Ninth Street and Ferry Avenue
The freeholders have earmarked $6 million in capital improvement funds
to pay for them.
In addition to offering reading materials, the libraries will provide
a connection to the Internet by way of the New Jersey State Library's
Hub telecommunications network.