Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An Open Letter to Re-Open Trenton Public Libraries


Dear Mayor Eric Jackson,

I know you are new in office but I am requesting that you do what you can to please reopen the shuttered city libraries that were closed since August of 2010. Now don't get me wrong, I do recognize that the Main Branch on Academy Street has made some great progress since the other locations have been closed.

All one has to do is take a quick look inside the Main Branch nowadays to see how they have added newer equipment, a DVD dispenser, and a larger variety of E-books (much to my delight). Along with this, I have also seen the library's strategic plan that lays out a blueprint for opening two satellite libraries within one year. Now on the surface that sounds fine and dandy, but I must say that this time-frame is far too long. (For more on the Library's strategic plan, you can always click here).

Indeed, I hate to be that proverbial fly in the ointment that always seems to find something wrong even in our best laid plans, but indeed on this occasion, I must. As I myself am a product of the free public library system, I feel the need to speak up early and often about this important issue. As a matter of fact, I can say without hesitation, that my life would have turned out completely different were it not for the free public library system.

As a kid, the library was a safe haven for me. It gave me a place to play games, use the computer, interact with like-minded peers, and last but not least, check-out books. Along with this, it encouraged me to read and educate myself more and more. Now years later, I am a PhD candidate at Capella University, but I digress.

Research has shown that libraries, which are simply collections of books and periodicals, add significant value to the community by providing easy access to high quality research content, helping adults upgrade their skills and find jobs, and by playing a significant role in improving childhood literacy, among other things. Bottom line: libraries are a vital part of the community. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Researcher David Giles said, "No other institution, public or private, does a better job of reaching people who have been left behind in today’s economy, have failed to reach their potential in the city’s public school system or who simply need help navigating an increasingly complex world".

Moreover, studies done in New York and Texas both show that there is an economic return on investment for public libraries according to the Illinois Library Association, a library advocacy organization. These are definitely things to consider when allocating funds for our public libraries in the city of Trenton.

So, Mayor Jackson I hope that my plea to have the libraries re-opened doesn't fall on deaf ears and that you will do what you can do to re-open these library branches as I think this will improve things in the city of Trenton.

Sincerely,

Anwar's Reflections

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A New Day in the City of Trenton

TRENTON-- Ladies and gents the mayoral and city council races are now things of the past. Indeed, the ballots have been counted, the parties have been had, and lo and behold, Tony Mack's era has finally ended. Mayoral elect Eric Jackson takes the throne July 1. It's a new day in the city of Trenton, or at least, we would hope so.

To be sure, the last thing Trenton needs right now, is politics as usual. No more corruption. No more pay-to-play politics. We need elected officials that uphold the highest degree of ethical standards. Alas, the city cries out for a new brand of leadership. A brand of leadership that knows how to honestly acknowledge the peaks and valleys we face, but still has a bold and compelling vision to get us to the mountaintop. A brand of leadership with a practical step by step plan to make things better. A brand of leadership that knows how to enlist the help of others. A brand of leadership that solicits the thoughts and ideas of the people to make the overall community better.

I sincerely hope that Eric Jackson and the new council members will demonstrate some of these qualities of leadership. Lord knows we need them to. Yet at the same time, we as everyday citizens have a responsibility to play here. We bear the responsibility of holding our elected officials accountable for their action or inaction on issues that are matter to us. Indeed, we cannot sit idly by while our great yet beleaguered city crumbles. I know its hard to stay involved and engaged in the everyday politics of our city, please believe me, I know, I work two jobs, and go to school, so I hear you. But we as everyday citizens can be leaders in our own right as well. We can set a positive example by simply going to work everyday, taking care of ourselves and our families, voting, reading, staying active, etc. There's no reason we can't be a part of the solution.

I know what you may be thinking, I don't know where to start, but trust me, there is wisdom and truth in the saying that even a thousand mile journey always starts with the first step. My first step may be volunteering, your first step may be mentoring a child. Another's first step may be cleaning up their block once a week. The options are endless, but I hope you get my underlying point which is to say that the choice is yours and mine.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Meet the Candidates Trenton Style Starts With Christine Donahue

TRENTON- - With the mayoral and city council elections quickly approaching, one recognizes how important it is to sit down with some of the candidates running for public office in the city of Trenton to learn more about them and their ideas for making a Trenton a better place to live, work, and play.

Check out the first video with Council At Large Candidate Christine Donahue below: