Access to the Chapel Hill Public Library by Certain CHCCS Students

Below is the body of an email sent by me this morning to members of the Chapel Hill - Carrboro City School  (CHCCS) Board, the CHCCS Public Foundation, and the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.

Dear CHCCS Board Members:

I am the President of the Chapel Hill Public Library Foundation, a non-profit established in 1996 to elevate the Chapel Hill Public Library’s collections, programs, services and facilities to a higher level of excellence than can be provided by the traditional tax base.  As some of you may be aware, the Foundation recently pledged up to $200,000 to the Chapel Hill Public Library for the upcoming fiscal year to help bridge any budgetary shortfalls which might occur should the Chapel Hill Town Council decide to begin charging ($60-$100 estimated) for Library cards for residents of Orange County living outside the Chapel Hill town limits.

The Foundation Board of Directors made this pledge in order to protect Library services if the Town Council votes on Monday, June 27th, to authorize this change.  A potential loss of services might occur because if the Town begins charging for cards for non-Chapel Hill county residents it will lose the $250,000 of support the County currently provides to Library operations.  However, the Foundation’s Board has taken this action with some reluctance because we fear that a number of CHCCS children living outside the Town limits may have their access to the Library restricted should such a card system be initiated.  Although the Town has said that such a change would occur after the summer reading program it would still potentially affect students during the upcoming school year.  There are over 4,000 Library card holders, many undoubtedly children, living in Carrboro alone and all of these holders would be affected by such a change.  There are another 8,000+ Library users who live in the County but outside Chapel Hill and Carrboro.  Some of these users are also undoubtedly students in the CHCCS district.

It is disturbing to me personally, and our Board of Directors as a whole, that the voices of the School Board, the Public School Foundation, and the parents in general have been silent during the discussions of such a potential change which will undoubtedly have an impact upon an all-too-large segment of the school population.  I would hope that some or all of you might consider what potential negative impact such a change will have upon some of the children in your system and that you will make your views known to Chapel Hill Town Council members, Carrboro Board of Alderman, and County Commissioners.

If anyone would like to discuss this further please feel free to contact me.

Best wishes,

George Cianciolo




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