Camden NJ Closes Main Library

CAMDEN (AP) — The latest blow to this downtrodden city came Thursday as the downtown branch of the public library was closing for good.

From The AP: The main branch of the Camden Free Public Library, in a high-ceilinged former bank building, was a victim of the same budget crisis that resulted in layoffs last month of nearly 400 city government employees, including nearly half the police department and one-third of the firefighters.

Now, many residents of this city that ranks among the nation’s poorest and most crime-ridden will need to search elsewhere for access to computers or books. The men who play a trash-talking brand of chess in front of the big windows say they’ll take their boards to the one remaining branch, a bus ride away.

Prentiss Truluck, one of the chess players, said that remaining library — modern but remote — will be stressed with more users. “They didn’t consider the overcrowdedness,” he said, predicting long and uneasy waits for the computers there. “There are going to be crimes committed at the library.”

The library made news around the world in August when its directors announced plans to close all three branches. No U.S. city this large, with about 80,000 residents, had lost all its libraries before.

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