Two book houses at the Roselle Park Veterans Memorial Library were moved last month after being vandalized by having the glass doors torn off.
No one is really sure who donated the library book house since Councilwoman-At-Large Charlene Storey in February of this year thanked Neglia Engineering – the borough’s engineering firm – for volunteering to build a book house for books on the side of the Library. At a later meeting, Second Ward Councilman Joseph Petrosky stated they were built by the County. Additionally, it has been stated by library personnel that the company contracted to keep the grounds installed the book houses on the side of the library on East Clay Avenue. They were then moved to their new location to the right of the stairs of the library by the Department of Public Works (DPW).
In April, Roselle Park resident William Hahn approached the governing body during a public comment portion of a Mayor & Council meeting to ask that the book houses be moved because they are not ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant. He asked who had the authority to install the book houses. No one on council was able to answer his question. Mr. Hahn had previously attended Library Board of Trustees meetings to ask the same thing and received no answer.
Mr. Hahn returned to the governing body twice in May to ask about the procedure – or lack thereof – followed in formally approving the book houses. He had formally requested, and received the plans on the renovation of the library and discovered that the book houses were not part of that project. In the location where the book houses were originally placed, the plans called for plum trees. He again questioned if a councilmember, the Library Board of Trustees, the Library Director, the Friends of the Library, or council ever approved the donation of the book houses. Ha also reiterated that the book houses were not ADA-compliant since some physically disabled people would not be able to go to the book houses since they were located on grass and not near any firm sidewalk or walkway.
At that May 19th meeting, Mayor Carl Hokanson did state that the book houses were not in the original plans.
The book houses were moved after having the glass doors torn off. It was stated that although not a reason for the move, the new location of the book houses would allow for those with physical difficulties could now also access them via the walkway already in place.
Still, no resolution exists to signify who donated the book houses, who constructed them, and who decided where they would be located.
It is this oversight that has now caused issues with another donation (link) since that also had no resolution approving its acceptance by the municipality nor where it would be located before it was installed. Although that donation has resolutions slated for next Thursday, they will both be retroactive.
If a policy was in place that had the Library Board of Trustees acknowledge a donation on library grounds as well as having the municipality formally accept a donation before it is installed, both issues would not have resulted in such controversy.