New Jersey's most impoverished city will close one of the last refuges for city kids -- the libraries.
All three branches of Camden's public library will be shut down at year's end unless a rescue can be pulled off.
Camden's library board says the libraries won't be able to afford to stay open past Dec. 31 because of budget cuts from the city government. The city had its subsidy from the state cut.
Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd is cutting more than two-thirds of the city's library funds.
"During difficult economic times, this administration has to make tough but necessary decisions to find cost-saving measures to balance a budget that will benefit Camden taxpayers," Redd said in a statement earlier this summer.
The Camden libraries provide a unique service that differentiates them from other cities' libraries: They give the city's impoverished children a free place to go when they don't want to be home or on the streets, patrons told the Inquirer last month.
The library board president says the library system is preparing to donate, sell or destroy its collections, including 187,000 books.
Board president Martin McKernan says keeping the books around would pose a fire hazard.