Barrington Considering A Library

Posted: January 13, 1993

BARRINGTON — A Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall would become the site of a new $328,000 town library if the Borough Council adopts the recommendations of a study committee.

In a report presented to the council last night, a committee headed by former Councilman Joseph R. Condo, who is also a Camden County freeholder, said the borough needed a local library to cater to preschoolers, elementary and middle school students and senior citizens.

The report recommends buying the Kingdom Hall building at Third and Reading Avenues for $155,000, making some minor structural changes, and stocking the building with $150,000 worth of books (10,000 volumes at about $15 each).

Annual operating costs would be about $36,000 a year for a 39-hour-a-week operation, the report estimates.

The report suggests financing the building's purchase and startup cost with a $300,000 20-year bond issue that would cost about $30,000 a year to pay off. This would add 1.8 cents to the real estate tax rate and cost the owner of a home assessed at $66,000 $11.48 per year. The annual operating cost would require 2.2 cents in real estate taxes and would add another $14.52 to the

average homeowner's tax bill.

The borough entered into an agreement June 29 to buy the hall for $155,000. However, the sale is contingent on whether the council determines it is feasible to use the building. The council has until the end of June to decide. The congregation plans to build a new building on Somerdale Road in Gloucester Township.

The study committee recommends that the borough continue its membership in the Camden County library system, which provides a broader range of services - largely through its Voorhees facility - than the local library would offer.

The committee estimated the library could open in mid-1994 if the council decides to proceed. Mayor Harry J. Stone Jr. said the council may make a decision next month.

The library would offer storytimes, videos, computer use, best-sellers, periodicals and book ordering from other library branches.

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