Public libraries in New Jersey are funded based on a formula that is based on the value of real estate in each municipality. This funding formula defines the minimum amount that is raised by tax levy for library support. Due to the economic downturn that occurred in 2009, and further depressed by the effect of Superstorm Sandy, which was to permanently remove houses from the tax rolls of the Borough of South River, our funding has been declining over the last several years.
In 2014, the Library chose to cut its hours of operation in light of this decreased funding pattern and its inability to support its previous model of service. Before the Library re-opened its doors after the Expansion-Renovation project, we reviewed and re-organized our staffing to cut costs and provide for a minimum staffing profile over our 56 hours of operation.
With a further drop in funding, we had no option but to cut hours. Many variables had to be taken into account in how to shape the new schedule, including consideration of our popular new meeting room space, and numerous patron requests for Sunday hours, among others. While we recognize that our new schedule inconveniences some of our patrons, our hours were reconfigured to reflect usage by the greatest number of patrons. Our overriding consideration during all of our work to create this new model of operation was to preserve the quality of service with our available funding.
We hope that you will work with us toward that goal. In the long run, we have a beautiful new building to enjoy and to grow into when our funding outlook improves.