Categorized | Local Perspectives

COMMUNITY VOICE: And Nothing Happened!!!

When I came on in 1999, letters were written to the current mayors and nothing was ever done, not because of me, but because the library and trustees got no support from the mayors. I went before the council in 2003 and the media and mayor paid attention. Vas said it would be his priority when the municipal complex was done. When it was completed, I went before the council again and was chastised because he thought the Jankowski Center should be done first. He did allow the trustees to engage an architect to do a feasibility study which was paid for out of library bequest funds. This began the long road to renovation. The list of activities in which the building committee and I played a part and the countless hours spent, are too numerous to list.

Mayor Diaz did make it a priority and things finally began to happen while I was the president and she was the mayor. This was much appreciated by the trustees and the citizens of Perth Amboy. For clarification, city owned buildings need the power of the mayor and administration to get things done. By statute, NJSA54-29.10, municipalities are responsible for funding public libraries. Also, mayors and superintendents/alternates serve ex-officio as trustees. I thought we, the trustees and the mayor, were a team working toward the improvement of the library. I don’t understand how her attendance, instead of mine is going to make anything happen faster or better than she was already doing in her actions as the mayor.

I am pleased the library is drier and will be lighter, but it still needs to be ADA compliant, not just handicapped accessible. It still needs to be expanded into the adjacent parking lot with more space and the technology to meet the needs of the citizens of today and the future. The children’s section also needs to be enlarged and will be if the rotunda is enclosed, as the last architect’s plan proposed. This plan also included a Historical Preservation Plan for the historic Carnegie library. Research was done concerning this plan and an application for the library to be placed on the historic trusts was submitted in December 2012. Acceptance to the historic trusts will make more grants available and lend prestige and credibility to the library. Institutions soliciting grants from other foundations may be more attractive if they are listed on the registers.

I hope the city acquires the property and the funds necessary to turn the trustees and my dreams into reality. Trustees can advise, request, cajole, advocate and nag, which I did relentlessly, but they do not have the power to make this happen without the administration’s support. I will still stay involved as a citizen and a Friend of the Perth Amboy Free Public Library as my mission has not been completed. Should a vacancy arise, I would serve again. Thank you all for your outpourings of support.

Barbara Sottilaro

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WED. Sept. 27
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Sept. 28
• Historic Preservation Commission,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Oct. 10
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

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WED. Oct. 4
• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
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