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N.J. voters could be asked to approve public library construction bonds

 New Jersey state Capitol building in Trenton. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey state Capitol building in Trenton. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey voters may be asked to approve $125 million to build and expand public libraries. The proposed ballot question first needs legislative approval in Trenton. 

New Jersey Library Association Executive Director Patricia Tumulty said the money would finance half the costs of building or repairing a library or making technology improvements and the local government would have to pay the other half.

“We still have a significant number of libraries that are not ADA accessible. We have a significant number of libraries that need to have electronic upgrades because now we do everything with computers. Many of their building were not built when we needed to have such computer access.”

The bill’s sponsor state Senator Kip Bateman said the library construction bond act would have to be approved by voters.

“Unlike the Statehouse renovation, this actually goes to the public for an up or down vote.”

State funding for libraries has declined in recent years and some have closed or cutback their hours.

The last library construction bond act was 15 years ago. Tumulty hopes this one will be enacted and put on the November ballot for voter approval.

“Libraries are an extremely important service to many people. They have an extremely high rating among the public. So we are very confident that this will embraced by voters and they will know the need for this.”

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