Legislation in support of libraries has been signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie.
The bill, A2679, amends current law under which appropriations for municipal libraries are part of general municipal funds while county libraries have a dedicated line item.
The bill, sponsored by Assembly members Upendra Chivukula, (D-17), Somerset; Ruben Ramos Jr., (D-33), Hoboken; and Valerie Vainieri Huttle, (D-37), Englewood, will render funds for all public libraries independent of municipalities.
“This measure will ensure that funds meant for municipal libraries are not diverted or delayed by cash-strapped municipalities and would provide certainty in budgeting and planning for libraries. By providing fiscal parity, this measure will help keep the doors of more libraries open,” Chivukula said in a statement.
According to the Assembly members, New Jersey experienced an upsurge in the use of libraries during the economic downturn with 51 million visits recorded in 2009, an increase of more than 11 percent since 2007. The number of books in circulation also registered an increase of more than 14 percent to touch 64 million that year.