New Jersey Library Priority
SAFEGUARDING AND PRESERVING LIBRARY SERVICE IN OUR DISTRESSED ECONOMIC AREAS DURING THIS ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, WHERE PER CAPITA SPENDING IS FAR BELOW STATE OR NATIONAL AVERAGES FOR THOSE WHO MOST NEED AND USE LIBRARIES TO IMPROVE AND EMPOWER THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES IS A PRIORITY.
New Jersey's distressed economic areas have been hardest hit in this recession and the effects on Libraries and residents have been devastating. Hours and services have been slashed and numerous library branches have closed. Eleven branches have closed to date, including all four branches in Trenton, three branches in Camden City, both branches in Bayonne and two branches in Newark. Furthermore, eight libraries in communities with an unemployment rate greater than 11% in 2010 including Milford, Newark, Woodbury and Dover, sustained funding declines greater than 12% since FY2007.
Distressed economic areas in New Jersey do not have the ratable base to provide sustainable library services at the minimum funding levels. Library service in our population centers must be preserved during this downturn through transitional funding.