The New Jersey Business and Industry Association is supporting the state’s proposal to sell $100 million in general obligation bonds, which will be in the form of Public Question No. 1 on the ballot Tuesday, November 7.
The proposal, if enacted, would allow the state to sell $125 million in state general obligation bonds and present opportunities for construction companies in the state. Proceeds of the sale would be used to construct, expand and equip public libraries throughout the state. Counties and townships that fund public libraries will be required to match the grant amount through soliciting private funding.
“New Jersey’s public libraries provide a wide array of programs and services of which there is great demand, including job research,” said Michele Siekerka, NJBIA CEO. “These bonds will allow for repairs, increased capacity and technology upgrades for libraries in need, while also creating construction jobs.”
Under law, the New Jersey State Librarian and the President of Thomas Edison State University would develop a process for applying and distributing construction funds.
A survey conducted by the New Jersey Library Association found that 80 percent of in-state libraries are already planning for expansion, renovation or facility improvements. Nearly half of New Jersey libraries are in need of additional square footage, while more than 41 percent are not fully ADA compliant.
“It’s also worth noting that recent survey data finds that more than 53 percent of millennials said they used a public library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months,” Siekerka said. “That’s a higher response than any survey of Gen Xers or Baby Boomers.”