Submitted by Flashinglights0101 t3_10f8wpm in newjersey

Public libraries are one of few places in New Jersey where you can go and not spend a dime. There are many services and support systems Set up there to help everyone. The State should support services between state, county and local municipal libraries. Also, libraries are being used more often for meeting space so public conference rooms are important and a cornerstone of many communities.



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rockmasterflex t1_j4vinzh wrote

Sure, Murphy can improve the state library system... but chances are all of the libraries you have ever been to were municipal or county ones.

And your local politics are WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY more important there.

Start at home and you'll immediately find the dysfunction. Your local government is likely preoccupied with 4 things (assuming you live in a suburb):

  • helping your school board get funding ("wont anybody think of the children!" virtue signaling)

  • NIMBY based rejection of affordable housing, power infrastructure improvements, revenue opportunities (like cannabis stores), and anything else that is generally good for the world and/or your town's budget but the folks in the 800k houses don't want.

  • complaining that the state should give them more money anyway just to exist. begging the state for additional money for deeply local issues. openly blaming the state for their problems if there is a party misalignment between state governor and local partisan govt *unless your local govt is sane enough to be nonpartisan

  • spending as much money on police as possible- despite your suburban crime rate being hilariously small- instead of teaching the residents how to lock their cars, doors, and not leave the keys inside them - but "tough on crime" is the easiest fucking virtue signal in existence


metsurf t1_j4vrcxn wrote

We have a line item on our tax bill to support the public library in town. Third rail for local politician getting rid of it.


rockmasterflex t1_j4vrr2g wrote

That's great, but chances are everything else in your budget is ballooning while that one stays more or less the same?


metsurf t1_j4vs12r wrote

better than nothing right?


rockmasterflex t1_j4vtw2a wrote

For sure, but considering it "third rail" if it stagnates when costs constantly grow up is dangerously complacent. In fact, your local taxpayers should be demanding better funding for your local public library, and anyone who doesn't support it should be voted out -> but as youve described it, it just being in the budget means the town has considered it "solved"


metsurf t1_j4vum2q wrote

It actually was an item of debate and was increased a little a couple of years back but when cutting it was proposed the motions failed. You know you can only push NJ taxpayers so far. Frankly, I could do with one less overpaid sergeant on the police force but that's me.


rockmasterflex t1_j4vvsct wrote

> one less overpaid sergeant on the police force but that's me

oh for sure, but imagine how murdered you'd get politically for even suggesting that.

"uhh does our town of only like 10k really need 4 sergeants?"


metsurf t1_j4w9of5 wrote

The thing that gets me is that even supervisory police officers get paid overtime. I mean for chrissakes in private industry you meet the criteria for being an exempt employee you are not getting OT. Highly compensated, supervisory personnel, with educational background requirements. It isn't like you're a shift leader at McDonald's making 45K that the owner is trying to screw out of OT by calling you an exempt employee.


Cousinit13 t1_j4wonvz wrote

Suburbs are their own worst enemies and since NJ is largely a state where people go to live it is filthy with them. There are far too many municipalities, school districts, police forces and none of them are willing to give up any control or funding to merge and reduce overhead.


Mysticpoisen t1_j4z7ynb wrote

Not to mention suburban towns are infamous for attacking the economic well-being of the cities whose taxes subsidize suburbanite existence.


leetnewb2 t1_j4zhncz wrote

Is that really the case in NJ?


Mysticpoisen t1_j4zjh2w wrote

Suburbs going out of their way to vote against the interests of the cities, or the cities subsidizing suburban living?

Either way, yes.


leetnewb2 t1_j4zjm9m wrote

I'll ask a different way. What cities in NJ are subsidizing NJ suburbs?


Mysticpoisen t1_j4zk86b wrote

All of them, fundamentally. Cities produce dramatically more taxes, but an outsized portion of their state taxes go towards suburban infrastructure. Suburbs would be exponentially more expensive to develop and live in if not for the insane tax revenues from cities to pave the way. This is how state taxes work. Urban areas are and always have been the economic engine of any state.


leetnewb2 t1_j4zklpe wrote

While I acknowledge that generally holds true, I don't think that dynamic is as clean as you claim it to be in NJ.


Mysticpoisen t1_j4zkx4d wrote

Anything at all that would make you think that? Are the suburbs of NJ suddenly massive financial or industrial centers? Did their infrastructure suddenly become an order of magnitude cheaper? NJ is the most heavily urbanized state in the country with the highest infrastructure costs, the dynamic holds more true here than anywhere else.


leetnewb2 t1_j4zlx8a wrote

NJ, and by virtue its suburbs, subsidize NYS and NYC primarily through tax dynamics. Also, North NJ's population density exceeds most cities in the country, so it isn't clear to me why the suburban/urban labels are even consistent in comparison. NJ's high infrastructure costs (roads in particular) are probably driven more by the population density, hostile seasons, and the heavy truck/freight traffic as the link between the massive container terminals in NYC/North NJ and the rest of the country.


Mysticpoisen t1_j4znkan wrote

The labels are relevant because suburban areas are bedroom communities without industry of any kind(and we're not just talking about north jersey), which is why they languish in terms of tax revenue. And the tax dynamics with NYC are complex, but still generate significant revenue for the state, but it's irrelevant to the conversation because we're talking about NJ cities.

While the population density of NJ is quite high, it's because our cities are some of the densest in the world. AND they have significant industry of all kinds, making them produce tax revenue orders of magnitude higher than suburban areas.


leetnewb2 t1_j4zorbh wrote

> The labels are relevant because suburban areas are bedroom communities without industry of any kind(and we're not just talking about north jersey), which is why they languish in terms of tax revenue.

That makes less sense in the emerging era of remote work. And it doesn't make much sense to talk about South Jersey when the bulk of the state population is in Central and North.

> And the tax dynamics with NYC are complex, but still generate significant revenue for the state, but it's irrelevant to the conversation because we're talking about NJ cities.

NJ commuters to NYC pay income taxes to NYS. How does that generate significant revenue for NJ? It is relevant to the discussion because such a significant chunk of income to the residents of NJ is generated in NYS and does not result in state taxes paid to NJ. You could argue that NJ suburbs are dependent on NYC for income.

> While the population density of NJ is quite high, it's because our cities are some of the densest in the world. AND they have significant industry of all kinds, making them produce tax revenue orders of magnitude higher than suburban areas.

The population density of NJ is high because Manhattan and the boroughs are extremely dense. And I'll repeat - in the era of remote work and substantial digital work, the concept of urban areas being the drivers of state revenue and productivity gets a little weaker.


Mysticpoisen t1_j4zrx3b wrote

NY and NJ have tax revenue sharing systems in place for residents of one who work in the other. The fact that you didn't know that, or understand that income tax is trivial compared to property and corporate and industry make it clear you don't have any idea how the state budget operates.


leetnewb2 t1_j4zu928 wrote

> NY and NJ have tax revenue sharing systems in place for residents of one who work in the other.

That is incorrect. I am a NJ resident that works in NYC. I file taxes in both states and take a credit from NJ for taxes paid to NYS, which effectively nullify any individual income tax contribution to NJ. NJ collects no income tax from me while subsidizing services to me. It is a huge part of NJ's funding gap.

> The fact that you didn't know that, or understand that income tax is trivial compared to property and corporate and industry make it clear you don't have any idea how the state budget operates.

Please cite literally anything that supports your position.


storm2k t1_j4vxwls wrote

local government being nonpartisan does nothing to help it. you'll still get partisan people running for it and they'll run things as if they were partisan. the only thing it achieves is that they don't have an r or d hanging on the back of their names on the ballot.

nimbyism is a huge hindrance to everything, and yes, it's almost always the wealthier fractions in the big houses that want to vote against anything that would be long term beneficial for the whole of the town. it also boggles me that people really don't understand that you should never leave your car doors unlocked and just leave your wallet and stacks of cash in your unlocked car. like, sheer amazement that this is such a thing in wealthier suburbs.


rockmasterflex t1_j4wz5ut wrote

the votes being nonpartisan HUGELY change the way it works.

Instead of being on the ballot as D or R and being in that column, its a random-ish order, with the incumbents called out.

This is beneficial because almost nobody votes in those elections, and of the people who DO, 90% of them have no idea what theyre doing, they just vote down D?R column, which is objectively bad for small scale govt.

Take the ability to do that away, and they have 3 choices:

  • vote for incumbents

  • vote for challengers

  • actually prepare for the election and figure out what you want to do (or remember a few interactions with your town govt and vote the people you hate out)

all 3 of those are smarter voting patterns than "the guy was on the right team"


storm2k t1_j4x7sf2 wrote

and 99.9% of people will continue to vote for the incumbents because "eh, they're doing a good enough job". for the smattering of people who vote in municipal elections as it is. jersey really needs to force all of them to be on even years to coincide with national elections, but that will never happen because all parties are happy with the lower turnout keeping incumbents entrenched for as long as they choose to stay basically.


BeamStop23 t1_j4wfigh wrote

Police is a big one, if you exclude DC. New jersey has the most police per Capita then the rest of America. We spend billions on them every year.


patchworkskye t1_j4virjt wrote

I was just thinking about how great libraries are the other day when I walked out with a huge pile of books - for free! I also love listening to audiobooks in the car — for free! And my son and husband just took a workshop on using a laser cutter - pretty neat…

The Hunterdon County library system is really doing great things, and they recent joined up with the Morris County system so now even more resources are available.


SyndicalistCPA t1_j4waq0c wrote

Man, the more I read about a "library economy" the more interested I get. The library is such a fantastic concept and should be expanded further to other things. Need tools to work on a project at home? Check out the tools at the library!

A good video on Library Economics if you have the time:


itjustkeepsongiving t1_j4x965j wrote

The Union Library (union county) will have a section for tools, cook ware, and other everyday items when it reopens. Hoping it spreads fast


bouncingspoons t1_j4y0gsr wrote

Growing up in Union Township, the library was and is the biggest asset that township has. I am so glad it’s being recognized and they are investing in it more.


esrm1988 t1_j4zt3wr wrote

No need to wait until we reopen, as our Library of Things is up and running, even in our temporary space! 😉 Stop by and have a look! - Emily from UPL


LongWindedInNJ t1_j4wnv8t wrote

Tool Libraries exist and fantastic resources, but I don’t know if any good ones in NJ. I would love to find one!


patchworkskye t1_j4x2b7w wrote

one of my favorite “thing libraries” was a fishing pole library up in Maine!


patchworkskye t1_j4x27ui wrote

I’m also a big supporter (and admin) of my local Buy Nothing gifting economy group where we give, ask, and express gratitude. We will be setting up little lending libraries within our group to lend stuff, like a tool library or kitchen equipment etc.


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riem37 t1_j4xn4bg wrote

In the more religious Jewish world, we have these things called Gemachs that are basically exactly this, and they exist for the most random things. Where I live (bergen county), there's one for Medical Supplies, Wedding Gowns, Fancy Table Cloths and Centerpieces, Tools, all kinds of things. It's definitely a concept that would be cool to see go mainstream


ImprezaDrezza t1_j4wtsl2 wrote

I need to know more about this laser cutter workshop...


itjustkeepsongiving t1_j4x9erq wrote

You can find everything on the Hunterdon County Library website. Right now it’s only at the North County Branch in Clinton, but the they are remodeling the HQ branch in Flemington with a makerspace that will have one as well.


itjustkeepsongiving t1_j4xc6ax wrote

Hunterdon County Library system is the best! The programs are awesome and the free apps are great. We’re at one branch or another constantly.

The kids section at the County HQ branch is like a mini kids museum.


JusticeJaunt t1_j4wytbc wrote

I was fully expecting you to say:

> And my son and husband just took a workshop on using a laser cutter - ~~pretty neat~~ for free!


I actually feel a little let down as such.


patchworkskye t1_j4x1z77 wrote

well, it was for free, but I didn’t want to get carried away 😊


JusticeJaunt t1_j4x8npl wrote

This honestly was some serious inspo to visit my local library. I haven't beeen to a library in ages but it's right down the road so I really feel like I should.


patchworkskye t1_j4xb2dl wrote

some libraries aren’t embracing their future as a community activity center, but if you’re lucky, there are all sorts of great things available - the latest addition to my local library is a pottery kiln! I’m so excited! 🎉


esrm1988 t1_j4ztkfz wrote

Librarian here. You definitely should! I think you’d be pleasantly surprised how libraries have modernized in the last few decades. Most offer great online resources too at no extra cost, but you’ll need an active library card to access them.


Chose_a_usersname t1_j4y56d3 wrote

Do libraries offer auto CAD?


whskid2005 t1_j4zvlw2 wrote

Software licenses are generally not available. You might find a workshop on how to use autocad.


Holtzc321 t1_j4vbx8c wrote

I go to the library every week. They have a great selection of dvd’s that no one knows about.


coreynj2461 t1_j4vdast wrote

Cds and video games too. Its like a modern day blockbuster that most dont know about or assumes libraries just have books


Holtzc321 t1_j4vdvxe wrote

I don’t think my library has video games. I usually only go for the books and dvds.


brickxbrickxbrick t1_j4vz37d wrote

Check to see if your library is part of a library system such as BCCLS, LMxAC, MAIN, or PALS Plus. If they are, then then can very easily request those materials from their partner libraries. Also, many libraries can place special requests for materials from other libraries in the state or the rest of the country through interlibrary loan (ILL).


goatodoom t1_j4vyudy wrote

The one near me in Monmouth County doesn't have video games, but Ocean County ones do. Thankfully there is some program where you go get a card for the other counties system if you have one in yours.

I love having access to more/different books from both, but the video games alone has been a big money saver. I've gotten to scratch the itch for some games I just want to play but not worth the price tag for the amount I'll play (like Madden, NBA2k, etc.). and games my son sees and really wants to try.


Holtzc321 t1_j4w18p2 wrote

I didn’t know that I will check it out.


throwawayjonesIV t1_j4vu516 wrote

Yea I just picked up (one of) the new McCarthy novels and Horizon Forbidden West on ps4. All the better that my library has a no late fee policy, so I can really take my time.


MANWithTheHARMONlCA t1_j4vxctv wrote

The passenger? Good book can’t wait to read the follow up.. amazing that this dude is almost in his 90s and still writing quality


throwawayjonesIV t1_j4wfuqf wrote

The Passenger yeah. And same, we're all collectively better off with that guy still writing. After Pynchon I think he's the greatest living American prose writer.


MANWithTheHARMONlCA t1_j51ohq3 wrote

I’m sorry I’m not even familiar with the name. We seem to share similar tastes so I’d like to add him to my list. Where would you recommend I start?


throwawayjonesIV t1_j5pptdj wrote

Sorry meant to get back to you. I would say only jump into Pynchon if you're up for a serious challenge, but it is a rewarding one. A few of his books in particular are the most difficult, dense novels ever written. I thought I had read challenging literature before Pynchon, and I had, but not in the same way.


That disclaimer aside, there are a couple places you could start. Some folks say Inherent Vice is a good entry point, and I don't totally disagree. It's a very unconventional detective story with a disorienting, complex plot, but a whole lot of heart and some beautiful prose. That said it is certainly his most accessible and maybe least dense. There is a wonderful film adaptation from a few years ago.

The Crying of Lot 49 is a short novella and his first published "long" work. It has many of the themes that would come to permeate his career and the prose will give you a good idea of what to expect from his more challenging stuff, while still being rather short.

Gravity's Rainbow is probably his most difficult, but is worth reading at least for the absolutely transcendent prose. I did not know english could be written in such an inventive, elastic way until this book. It is my favorite novel. It is not a book that is about a simple plot that is easy to follow and at the end it all makes perfect sense. It is at times opaque, bewildering, and esoteric, but in such an enchanting way.


Wherever you start you will be in a good place. I would suggest not starting with Mason and Dixon, however. It is incredible but it's written in 18th century style that is wonderful and unique, but is really the only example of it in Pynchon's oeuvre. Vineland also is regarded as not as strong as his other works, so maybe not a great start. Anyways, hope this helps.


coreynj2461 t1_j4w5nsv wrote

How does that work with no late fees? BCCLS has late fees but very nominal


MANWithTheHARMONlCA t1_j4w84z7 wrote

Bccls also has renewals fyi. For books it’s usually 3 renewals which means you’ll have the books for 3 months total if you renew them.

For dvds it’s usually 2 weeks per renewal so they give you plenty of time unless it’s a new or high demand book/dvd

And it’s (usually) like 10 cents a day for books or a dollar a day for dvds so even if you can’t manage to watch or read something right away, you have plenty of time and it’s relatively cheap even if you do return it late.

It’s convenient as fuck I love the system and if I can’t read a book in 3 months or watch a dvd in a month and a half I have only myself to blame


throwawayjonesIV t1_j4wgbfd wrote

Any time I've forgotten to turn in something on time I get an email, but beyond that nothing happens. I try not to do this out of respect for the library and other patrons, but I've had stuff for months after it was due until I remembered to turn it back in. It feels slightly wrong honestly hahaha.


librarycatlady t1_j4yjd5p wrote

Not all. There are so many BCCLS libraries without fees right now.


victorfabius t1_j4ydf87 wrote

No late fees, but if you hold onto an item for too long, your card may be blocked, other access restricted and/or replacement charge levied until such time as you return the item. Then you're clear. There may be exceptions based on they type of material or if it was requested from out of system. This is PALSPlus policy as far as I'm aware, for libraries that are fine-free. Other systems or libraries may have a different model.


frogsgoribbit737 t1_j4wx4ur wrote

You just return it when you can. Its been found that late fees actually can prevent people from returning books so the library loses money when implementing them.


Lyraxiana t1_j4xiqr5 wrote

Where else are you gonna find VHS tapes?

Some libraries even have the old players you can check out too, to watch them on!


Sudovoodoo80 t1_j4vr59a wrote

Absolutely! Public libraries are essential to American excellence, let's support and fund these institutions properly. I would love to see NJ leading the nation in supporting public libraries.


Melodic_Record9737 t1_j4w4i71 wrote

I was a librarian in NJ for about five years, working in a couple different systems.

First, NJ has a state funding system that is pretty good for public libraries. Basically they match a percentage of what the town puts in, provided the town puts up a certain amount. It’s not as good as some other states, but it’s there.

Second, and stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the local control we have in NJ means you have multiple systems with one branch, a director, children’s library etc. I worked in a tiny little library that couldn’t do much in terms of programming and such but there was another library five minutes away with a brand new building designed to be a modern library … but it was in a different town.

Third, and I know this is subjective, but there is still the mentality of books first at most NJ libraries. Yes, books are a big part of libraries and always will be. But they have to be balanced with internet access, programs, and other collections and access. I don’t know why libraries buy reference books anymore, but they do, and they are not cheap.

Finally, and this is why I left the work, but you need a masters degree to be a librarian but you won’t make a salary that reflects this in NJ until you’ve been in the system for years. The starting minimum salary for a librarian in NJ is a little less than $60k. That’s not terrible, but it’s not great either when you probably have student loans to pay. This is largely librarians’ own fault as they agreed to this “minimum” guidance and of course it became a “maximum” rather than a starting point. I don’t know, maybe the state could help there

I wish I still worked in a library. I loved it and really felt like I was making a difference—especially when I worked in a branch Newark—but my wife and I wanted to start a family and there was no way I was going to make enough to do that in this state as a librarian without waiting many years to get my turn at a senior position.


Flashinglights0101 OP t1_j4w8qgv wrote

Growing up, I used to go to my local library after school almost every day (both parents worked and I took the bus there). The library was always accepting of anyone. There was always something new to explore - books, services, computers, etc. I was young but there were a lot of older adults getting help with mundane tasks like paying their bills.


no_brain_st t1_j4xb10p wrote

I posted a different comment but if you know any librarians please make sure they are signed up for the E-rate program. It provides a discount on internet services based off poverty level of the closest school district.


brickxbrickxbrick t1_j4xjie4 wrote

A lot of truth in your response, however, NJ libraries are not funded as you describe. There is no state matching fund (if only!!!). The little funding libraries receive from the state is something called per-capita-state aid which is based on eligibility and comes in at roughly .43 per capita. The core funding for public libraries is assessed at the local/municipal level using a formula (1/3 of a mill) based on equalized property evaluations.


Melodic_Record9737 t1_j4xko1p wrote

You're right, it's not a match--but the state doesn't give the per capita aid if the municipality doesn't support the library to a certain level and if the library doesn't meet certain criteria (number of librarians with MLS degrees, hours open, etc.). The millage (per million) was what we always called it. We didn't get it if the town didn't fund the library and keep the building open. In the places I worked this was not an issue, but some libraries in more conservative areas lost their state help.

State Aid
State Aid is provided by the New Jersey Legislature and administered by the New Jersey State Library. While the law allows for many different types of State aid to different types of libraries (see N.J.S.A. 18A:74-1 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 15:21-1.1 et seq.), Per Capita State Aid has been the only grant program funded by the legislature for many years.
Per Capita State Aid is calculated according to a formula that includes the annual amount of funding from the legislature, each municipality's/county's level of support to the library calculated as a ratio (current year local tax support to the library divided by the prior year's equalized valuation of the political entity or entities), the population of the library's legal service area and the library's compliance with the minimum standards established by regulation (N.J.A.C. 15:21-2.1 et seq.). There are five aid categories, ranging from $.50 to $1.50 per capita. Minimum standards are based on the size of the legal service population and include such categories as: appropriate number of state-certified librarians, collection size, annual collection growth rate, periodical subscriptions, number of open hours per week and staff training.


brickxbrickxbrick t1_j4xll7r wrote

Exactly. The eligibility is key. Municipalities are required by law to fund libraries at millage, however, there is also the practice of chargebacks (and that’s how some municipalities end up funding at less). A lot of people have been working very hard at getting the state aid back to pre-Christie levels, but aside from a small increase of funds last year, it’s still much behind what it once was. I hope you found your time in NJ libraries worthwhile.


Melodic_Record9737 t1_j4xmpz1 wrote

I miss working in a public library. I really feel like they can make such a difference, especially in areas where residents don't have the access to information most of the state takes for granted. And even in those towns, there were always those that needed help getting the information they needed (the elderly, disabled, teenagers).

I was working NJ libraries when Christie was governor and it was just brutal. Hours cut, layoffs, whole departments closed down. I remember the mayor saying he had to cut the library before he cut the police. I wish I'd taken the time then to explain then that keeping the library open would mean less work for the police ...


brickxbrickxbrick t1_j4xn5ad wrote

So very true….the most democratic of organizations. Free access to all who need it. Those Christie funding cuts were brutal and changed the landscape of NJ libraries in some significant ways. Best of luck in whatever you’re pursuing and keep supporting libraries….champions are always needed.


tehbored t1_j4wj78v wrote

It's a little ridiculous that you still need a masters of library sciences to be a librarian. Makes no sense now that everything is computerized.


puzzlebuzz t1_j4wlumc wrote

Everything is more complicated now that it's computerized. It used to be collecting books. Now it's maintaining diverse resources. And that's just a collections standpoint. There's so much more that libraries do and if you understood, you'd understand why there's a need for a Master's degree.


tehbored t1_j4wmrcj wrote

There is no way that it is more complex than, say, electrical engineering, which you can do with a bachelor's.


puzzlebuzz t1_j4xgkwu wrote

Well everything is harder than engineering. That’s not fair. You can dislike it but librarians are educators.


tehbored t1_j4xlxi3 wrote

All educators should only require a bachelor's degree tbh, except for maybe special needs educators.


puzzlebuzz t1_j4ztf8d wrote

What qualifications do you have to set these standards? Do you work for the board of education? I still don’t understand what you have against librarians. Overeducated or not, they are overworked and underpaid!


tehbored t1_j50240h wrote

I have nothing against librarians, that's why I think it should be easier to become one. What I have a problem with is rent-seeking and protectionism.


puzzlebuzz t1_j50f3qd wrote

I think the issue is most people don’t decide to become librarians until after college or even grad school. Adding a masters degree is easier.


psuedonymously t1_j4vk1i3 wrote

I'm all in favor of supporting public libraries. That said, NJ as a whole probably has better libraries than pretty much any state. Maybe focus on funding cities that aren't able to meet that standard.


nicklor t1_j4vddzh wrote

Just make an actual good statewide system. We already have a countywide system in my area. But for just offering books I actually get more of my reading materials from those random give a book take a book box's around my town.


lsp2005 t1_j4vq0e6 wrote

Somerset, Morris, and Union have a three county system. I think there is another multi county system for further north in NJ too.


ansky201 t1_j4vy1c4 wrote

Essex, Bergen, and Hudson have a library system. There are over 70 participating libraries in it.


brickxbrickxbrick t1_j4w026i wrote

It gets confusing. There are multiple library systems in the state with individual libraries from various counties, with county library systems thrown into the mix. Ideally, you could just go to any library in the state and get stuff.


Joe_Jeep t1_j4vtjhv wrote

Middlsex and some of its neighbors have one but it's by town Not county


brickxbrickxbrick t1_j4vzo9h wrote

That's correct. While there are individual members from various counties, they are not a three county system. It's complicated. Especially if you just want to go to any library to get stuff. :)


Joe_Jeep t1_j4wnger wrote

Yea couple friends of mine work for member libraries. Pre pandemic I was in different branches somewhat frequently. Even got to be a zombie for a Halloween event at one


JustWantsHappiness t1_j4vwof1 wrote

With policies like these, I really only care about how they’ll affect places like Camden and Trenton since they’re the ones who actually really need the state help, since the local municipalities could care less


lsp2005 t1_j4vxk5e wrote

You need to have the people who live there buy into it that developing the library is good for them. I agree that it would be, but gate keeping will not make the residents of other cities want to help. They need to create a multi county library system of the local towns there. The systems are out there for their librarians to use and get up and running.


starplatinumgo t1_j4vr41u wrote

monmouth and middlesex also share a system, and i know there are a couple of towns in union that shares with them


nicklor t1_j4vrrdy wrote

As someone who lives in Monmouth lots of towns are not part of the system


starplatinumgo t1_j4vsvhx wrote

also very true. i'd say it's like 10% monmouth, 15% union, and 75% middlesex


nicklor t1_j4vtd9i wrote

Thanks maybe eventually my town will join lol


starplatinumgo t1_j4vtqry wrote

i hope so! it's a real drag when you know what you're missing out on 😅


ra3ra31010 t1_j4x3xx7 wrote

Yea but you won’t get Rosetta done for free there

That’s only at the library


nicklor t1_j4x7nys wrote

Not at my library 🤣 but we do get some pretty legit art projects


Fit_Item4422 t1_j6jthto wrote

Rosetta Stone was free everywhere through the State Library's Jersey Clicks program, but they dropped it recently.


ra3ra31010 t1_j6jv4lo wrote

Yea… my library bought it after the state dropped it


Fit_Item4422 t1_j6jvc53 wrote

We switched to Pronunciator as it's way cheaper.


ra3ra31010 t1_j6jwhva wrote

Good to know! Imma look into it (I help manage the digital resources)


LongWindedInNJ t1_j4wn1dc wrote

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the library system in NJ seems like a pretty well-run system. No? Other than higher pay for librarians, what else can be improved upon?


Justatinyone t1_j4wzeud wrote

Library director here. TONS of things could be done for libraries. Aside from pay and staffing issues, many libraries are underfunded - usually where they are most needed.

Take the BCCLS system: 77 libraries from Bergen. Essex, and Hudson counties- an incredibly diverse clientele. Libraries in NJ must get a specific amount of funding - a minimum guaranteed by statute. That formula is the same for every municipality or county library, but as I’m not in a county system I’ll speak only about municipalities.

Some libraries are funded over that base amount, but many are not. It isn’t hard to guess which ones get extra money, and which do not. The ones who don’t cannot offer as many services to their patrons as well-funded ones do. They can’t pay as much to attract great staff. That inequity is keenly felt when you are trying to run a library and can’t meet the needs of your taxpayers, especially if you work with poor and underserved populations who, arguably, need the services a library can provide more than an affluent community.

Fortunately libraries share many resources, though that has its own hurdles as well.

The solution is, of course, more funding, but from where? New Jersey needs to step up for its libraries. In mine we feed people lunches and meal kits, run a free food pantry, teach English, help with citizenship classes, offer free tax prep, have a library of things (anything from sewing machines to telescopes to yard games to cake pans), have lendable laptops and kindles, and of course books, and programs for adults and children in multiple languages. Some of that is run via external organizations, donations, and partnerships, but a lot is on the backs of the library staff. Imagine what we could offer with better funding!!!

Please, support your libraries. Get a library card. Advocate at the local level by approaching your municipality at council meetings and fight for your library. No other place in American society is as free, open, and democratic as our libraries. They need you.


brianbogart t1_j4ynp62 wrote

Adding to this as a library worker: at my library, when the pandemic shut everything down the first this we went to was “how do we get as many people internet (as in online) as possible, and how fast?” Kids without home internet or limited data plans that were suddenly home schooling, people put into a work from home environment that were unprepared, seniors suddenly cut off from the world. Libraries do a lot more shouldering of the burden than people see.

We ended up buying as many hotspots as we could afford and stretching out wifi almost a quarter mile in an urban center. The sad bit is we could have done more with money.


Justatinyone t1_j5030ct wrote

Exactly. We scrambled to get as much for kids as we could - also in an urban library. We even set up wifi that could reach as far as possible so people could camp out in the parking lots and at nearby park.

We could have done more with funding.


LongWindedInNJ t1_j4xzv27 wrote

Thank you for the info- what a great deep dive. I was ignorant to all the services they already provide and what they can still approve upon.


resumehelpacct t1_j4xyqcy wrote

I think the book selection is pretty good, but I’d like to see a state wide bargaining with audio and e book vendors to expand selection, more access to items like 3d printing, board games, tools, stuff like that.


storm2k t1_j4w0rx3 wrote

i feel that this is something that is well served by the county government, but that still requires buy in from municipalities. somerset county has an excellent county library system, but not every municipality in the county wants to participate. bedminster has a pretty solid public library for only being municipal, but it could be so much better if they would just join scls. but they won't, because nimbyism (the bedminster horse people think themselves superior to all other living beings).

libraries are great overall tho. it's not just that they have more than books. they have free internet access if you don't have it at home. most of them have services like notary publics that are free as long as you're a resident. they host all sorts of programs for you to learn new things and gain new skills. libraries are one of the last great egalitarian forces we have that are government supported.


Familiar-Buffalo-490 t1_j4wlxc4 wrote

I get access to NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, Rosetta Stone,, Hein Online, EbscoHost, LinkedIn training library (formally, Consumer Reports, plus so many other things as part of my library membership for the value of my property taxes. I think that’s a pretty darn good trade because all those memberships would cost more. This is just a short list, it’s hundreds of resources.

The resources are there, go into your library and ask.


gordonv t1_j4y0lme wrote

I did not know this. I may check this out.


_TommySalami t1_j4vi5mr wrote

We should push for this on a state, county, and municipal level. I don't visit mine as often as I should.


sri745 t1_j4w2a6l wrote

I love my local library. They had a recent session on how to use 3d Printers (our library has some). Plus you factor in Overdrive to borrow electronically on your tablet/e-reader. It becomes a no brainer. I still wish we just had one giant central state library catalogue to borrow from (for e-reading purposes). But people definitely don't use their libraries enough.


ansky201 t1_j4vyq10 wrote

West Orange is currently in the process of building a new library for the town. I'm not sure how much of that cost is being paid from state vs. local funding.


brickxbrickxbrick t1_j4xkeqa wrote

The library may have been awarded a grant to the Construction Bond Act of 2018(not sure of the date). Libraries that applied for the grant which could only be used for construction related expenses had to provide matching funds. Those funds could have come from the municipality, library reserves, or whatever other sources the library was able to secure.


Lyraxiana t1_j4xhb69 wrote

Considering libraries are one of the last great bastions of places where one can exist without being expected to spend money, yeah.

And they often have access to audiobooks and ebooks, making apps you have to pay for, like audible, pointless.

Better funding would help create a more welcoming environment for children by adorning their section with artwork of their favorite characters; comfy, bright colored furniture sized for them, and beanbag chairs. One of my most vivid childhood memories was of the giant stuffed dragon (really more like a big, round, green pillow with a tail, fabric wings, and feet with shiny fabric claws). I adored sitting or laying on him when I was reading.

Additional funding would also allow more public events-- summer reading programs, weekend kid's crafts and clubs. Libraries also offer an excellent introduction to the workforce -- with the potential to hire high schoolers as pages, and readers for children, instead of volunteering.


AnAllieCat t1_j4xqogq wrote

I’m a public librarian in New Jersey and this thread is making me so happy. Thank you all for using your libraries!


rogerwaters9 t1_j501hvm wrote

Already been said by others, but I am a librarian in Jersey and this thread makes me very happy to see all of the support for them :)


Jimmytowne t1_j4wsg4f wrote

There are more public libraries in the country than McDonald’s. I think we are doing a good job, my public library is thriving. It’s more about the community than state funds


dryerasenerd t1_j4wtjqv wrote

Is there a problem with NJ libraries?

I've only used Camden and Burlington County but they seem pretty great. Streaming services. NYtimes subscription. I'm using Rosetta stone and taking trumpet lessons. Career services. They lend out museum passes.

I'm sure they could be better but they don't seem woefully underfunded to me.


pannullm t1_j4wcerj wrote

Im pretty sure he tried to increase library funding in his first term and it went to a public vote. My library is awesome but I’ve heard some aren’t as good.


nicklor t1_j4wisth wrote

I'm pretty sure it passed also but it was more of a construction funding bill


LimpDickMods t1_j4wsl74 wrote

libraries are already generally pretty well funded and one of the things NJ does right


BT8139 t1_j4wxkg6 wrote

Where will fellow homeless go sit? Plus no shelters


bakerfaceman t1_j4xh1y2 wrote

This x1000. One thing I'd love to see is libraries adding tools. So many apartment dwellers need a drill once in a while. I've got a garage full of tools I've used maybe 5 times. I'd love to share those with my neighbors but be able to have them when I need them. We need a real culture of libraries of everything, not just books and media.


whskid2005 t1_j4zwajq wrote

The library by me has some tools. The issue is they don’t really have a place to store those items. Maybe you can raise funds for a storage shed and ask people to donate tools in good working order.


bakerfaceman t1_j50lihl wrote

Yeah that's a great idea. A shed in the parking lot could cover most needs.


Loud-Impress3357 t1_j4yan1t wrote

The public libraries in Missouri give you free Wi-Fi hotspots for 6 months if you use it for educational purposes. So dope👀


fuzzy_dunlop_221 t1_j4yvtvv wrote

When I was a kid, a local library helped me stay fed as an immigrant family with no money. I couldn't afford lunch and this was at the point my parents worked 6 am till midnight. I wrote book reports on books I read at the library with a volunteer tutor who taught English. You can exchange that book report for a small box of personal pizza. The limit was like once a month but the people at the local library gave me a voucher any time I brought a book report.

Idk if those people are still alive or on reddit or what but they really saved my ass and helped lighten some burden off my parents.

We talk shit about how expensive it is to live here but taxes and people donating to local charity funds really helped.

Right now, libraries are amazing hub of modern media. Think like Barnes and noble but free and you can check out and borrow shit from the store.


ForcesEqualZero t1_j4zzpe2 wrote

"Do you know who the most dangerous man in America is? A person with a library card." Brother Moussone


PotentialMango9304 t1_j4w6mok wrote

Last time I was in a library I saw one kid destroying a magazine, and multiple kids looking at porn on the computers.


peregrine_swift t1_j4wb8hy wrote

Yup. I used to love my library! But you can no longer go to a quiet corner and read magazines or books because they moved all the chairs to the center of the building because of the overdoses that were happening at the library. Needles by the benches outside on the grounds. Librarians now have the extra added pressure of saving lives with narcan, which thank goodness for that! Kids and adults watching porn on the computers. They dont pay librarians enough to deal with that. Destruction of materials was pretty common and probably the least of the problems.


urmomlvsmyd t1_j4we51u wrote

Libraries near me are full of homeless people who are forced out of the shelter during the day. I in no way have a problem with homeless people, I have been in my past, shortly, but I can see how it could have spiraled out of controller and been a much longer situation. I'm talking about the needles, dope bags, and blood squirted all over the wall in the bathroom. And being harassed for money during the whole outing.


gordonv t1_j4y0t4q wrote

> blood squirted all over the wall



b_sitz t1_j4wqgqc wrote

No one goes to the state library besides bums


no_brain_st t1_j4xaae8 wrote

If anyone here uses your public library frequently please ask if they are taking advantage of the E-rate program for their internet. It provides schools and libraries between 25%-90% off internet access and internet upgrades. Discount is based off the closest school district poverty level. Since libraries typically have very tight budgets, taking advantage of these funds can really make a difference. If they have concerns there are plenty of consultants in the state that will do the process for them.


brickxbrickxbrick t1_j4xks6l wrote

The one draw back is that to be eligible for E-rate funding, libraries must filter their internet access. This goes against the principle of freedom to access information,which is held by many libraries. That said, you are correct. For those that are willing to filter, the Erate program is a wonderful source of saving.


LingeringSentiments t1_j4xjgn4 wrote

Right on with this. I’m in West New York and it’s a super tiny library, so I understand the smaller budget but, we only just finally got Hoopla. And there is not much else to offer in the way of movies or music.

It could use more help.


HobbitFoot t1_j4y1wxv wrote

How has 2017's Public Question 1 failed in creating this system?


Hopemonster t1_j4y7vob wrote

The best use of money is to improve our worst performing schools. No better return on investment in society by a long mile


climbhigher420 t1_j4y9pms wrote

Tax the millionaires then we can have nice libraries.


redwoodjules t1_j4znb0f wrote

Right! Well, let’s see there’s other things you can do like go hiking. I’ve done that a lot since I’ve moved here from California. But you know it was nice about California one of the many things you didn’t have to pay to go to the dang beach. I mean come on.


zackalack7 t1_j4zwjv6 wrote

I dont disagree, public libraries are a building block of education, imagination, and creativity for kids while also being a source enjoyment for adults. Simultaneously i think other things might need to come first like paying teachers more and infrastructure (e.g. newark’s water pipe system). Really wish more people with higher income would donate to public schools/libraries more than they already do but everyone already pays taxes so thats an excuse not to i guess. But im with you, hopefully one day!


minimxnut t1_j4zxha1 wrote

Do any of y’all know how the Carnegie library system came to be? There’s one that has been sitting abandoned since 1986 in New Jersey and it would really benefit the community that it’s sitting in. Apple paid to rebuild the Carnegie library in Washington DC and it’s been a smashing success I have emailed many philanthropic people and agencies about helping including city officials and no one wants to step up.


toughguy375 t1_j4yfwli wrote

Murphy wants to take credit for creating a new program, not keep supporting something that has been working for 200 years.


ectomobile t1_j4vlb0r wrote

I’m all for equity but suggesting libraries are the answer is silly. Housing, education, healthcare, public transportation………………………..libraries.


betcher73 t1_j4vo29q wrote

We should start with housing and education. I think GetCoveredNJ has done a lot to help with healthcare already.


snarfydog t1_j4vx2yg wrote

Libraries are actually huge resources for people to get information about and find all of those things. So many issues with housing, education, healthcare, etc begin with people not knowing how to access resources, and libraries are excellent at helping.


pawn_yayo t1_j4x1jcp wrote

How about we fix the potholes first


Qwertyact t1_j4vhux3 wrote

"If [politician] is serious about [problem]..."


Oh, honey, I'm so sorry.


psuedonymously t1_j4vl2dv wrote

You know what, this is the cynical Reagan-era bullshit that started us on the race to the bottom that we're currently winning. There are plenty of politicians who are in the business to help people. When you find one who isn't, or you disagree with the way they're doing it, work to elect another one. Don't just sneer, throw off a useless wise-ass comment and walk away.

This smug "all politicians are useless so don't bother" attitude is at best lazy, and at worst a con to get us oligarchs to use public indifference to privatize public services to make a buck at the expense of people who need them.


Sudovoodoo80 t1_j4vrwi0 wrote

Spot on. If your representatives suck, fix it. I'm so sick of hearing about how we can't fix the government. We can go to the moon on rockets that can land themselves, but everyone believes that using public money for the public good is impossible.


ttgx1000 t1_j4wdba9 wrote

He should cap property taxes first… shits out of control.


PM_ME_LADY_ANKLES t1_j4vub8k wrote

Camden County's library setup is dogshit and it makes me want to punch a wall. Literally, the only thing I miss about living in Philly.


HudsonRiverMonster t1_j4w5tdo wrote

Your mistake is assuming Murphy is interested in progress, he’s interested in running for President.


AskNo1580 t1_j4vy60k wrote

People still go to the library ? I thought they were extinct ? 😆