NEWARK – As libraries alter their methods in a changing, online-centric world, state funding has continued to drop, according to Patricia Tumulty, the executive director of the New Jersey Library Association, who testified on Monday at the Assembly Budget Committee hearing.
Although Tumulty said she was happy to see increases in the contributions to state education, she said her members are not seeing more money in a time when new methods, such as online services, are becoming necessary.
“(The proposed budget) does absolutely nothing to restore the devastating cuts to library programs that we have sustained in the last several years,” Tumulty said.
Currently, state funding for the library amounts to approximately 0.41 cents per resident.
“I can’t buy a dollar book for residents in New Jersey with the amount of money we get,” Tumulty said.
Tumulty said she wants to see approximately $10 million earmarked in the budget for library spending.
“Ten million in a budget that is billions (of dollars), I hope you agree with us that it is a worthwhile endeavor,” Tumulty said.
“I couldn’t agree with you more,” said Assembly Budget Chair Vincent Prieto (D-32), Secaucus.
Tumulty said that in 2011 there were 15 million visits to New Jersey public libraries.