Melodic_Record9737 t1_j8muf9t wrote

Suggest you look in surrounding towns like West Windsor, Plainsboro, and Kingston. They will still be expensive but much less than Princeton and depending on where you wind up you would be a 5-10 minute drive into downtown Princeton or 15-30 minute bike ride. For a one bedroom in the area you can assume a range of $2000-$2500 in rent. In town you will start at $3000 a month.


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 ...


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.


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.