Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Old Bridge Public Library is working on a new plan for the Laurence Harbor Branch. The Laurence Harbor Branch is the oldest branch of the Old Bridge Public Library system. It was not designed as a library and is inefficient. At one time, it was a police station. The building is at least 100 years old and has been used as a library since the start of the township system in 1958. Currently the building is open 40 hours a week. 13,440 books were checked out of the library in 2009. However, the building is in disrepair. The foundation is sinking, wood in the structure is rotting out, the roof and siding need to be replaced, and the retaining wall is collapsing. The building also needs a new ramp, landing and handrail at the side entrance in order to meet the Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. The question we face is: should we repair the building at a minimum estimated cost of $280,000 with the understanding that these repairs will not solve neither the inefficiency issues nor the age of the building; or do we take down the current building and replace it with a new building at an estimated cost of $500,000? The Library Board and I would like your input. Do you think we should repair the old building? Should we build a new one? What are your feelings? Please e-mail Michael Lamb. We would like to hear from you.