Libraries as a Lifeline

 I have always been a huge proponent of public libraries - after all, what could be better than free books?  Over the weekend a New York Times article caught my eye "In New Jersey, Libraries Are Lifelines for Needy".  Apparently, there is better stuff at your local library than free books - there is career research and word processing for those in transition, and information on help available to those in need (mortgage assistance, food stamps, subsidized child care).  

What impressed me was not that our libraries have these resources (as a regular patron I can attest that local libraries are a fountain of information), but that New Jersey's public librarians have recognized that many patrons seeking this information might too uncomfortable to ask for it (especially in their hometown).  So the state librarians came together and created gethelp.njlibraries.org.

The site "provides links to state agencies and nonprofits, and information on jobs, food assistance, military benefits, utility assistance and even free tax preparation for people with low incomes, disabilities or difficulty speaking English."  Among other categories there are compilations of services under the heading of New Jersey Financial Tools, New Jersey Work Tools, and New Jersey Parental Tools.  The is also a link for information for seniors under  Tools For Seniors.