The Montclair Public Library has submitted its anticipated $4.2 million 2019 budget to the township for review.

The library is hoping to expand operating hours at the Bellevue Avenue branch and add designated staff, as well as hire a new marketing staffer and give existing staff a pay raise of two percent.

All town departments must submit an appropriations request to the township by Nov. 1, ahead of Montclair’s budget process in March.
The library has requested $3,648,093 in municipal funding.

According to the library’s remainder of the library’s expected revenue would be $16,000 in state aid, $70,000 in daily receipts, $230,000 in gifts and $274,000 in other income.

The expenditures for 2019 are expected to be $4,237,486, of which $3,017,256 would be for personnel.

The library is hoping to add a new full-time marketing director, at a total cost of $84,330: $53,000 for salary and $31,330 for benefits. Existing staff would also receive a small increase in pay, and the library has asked for an additional $18,000 for programming and materials.

The budget request noted that the annual summer reading program for children is fully funded through the Montclair Public Library Foundation, while the Little Read, which this year raised $26,000 through sponsorships, helps pay for new materials for the children’s department.

Budget numbers

Under New Jersey state law, libraries must receive a minimum of a third of a mill - a tenth of a cent for each tax dollar - in local funding. Most libraries receive more than the formula in local funding, according to New Jersey State Library officials.

In 2018, the library’s total budget of $3,418,093 included $2,436,052, the minimum under the third of a mill requirement, plus $982,040 in additional local funding. For 2019, the library’s funding request includes $1,047,776 in addition to the $2,600,327 third of a mill minimum.

Montclair’s library budget has gradually increased since 2012, following a round of steep cutbacks. But the budget is still lower than what the library received in past years. In 2008, the library budget was $4,450,944.12.

In 2011, the budget took a steep drop, down to $2,500,000, after the township scaled back the amount of additional funding it gave the library beyond the third of a mill minimum.

Since then, the budget had gradually increased, even though the budget stayed flat at $3,418,093 in 2017 and 2018.

The library is also receiving significantly less state aid than it has in years past. In 2008, the library had received $48,000 in state aid. But in 2010, that amount dropped to $16,000. Since that time, the library’s state aid has stayed at, or close to, that amount.

Planned improvements

Outside of the budget process, the library has put together a $16 million plan for library upgrades.

At the main library on South Fullerton Avenue, some of the planned projects include a new glass front, a new teen space on the third floor and a new spiral staircase. For the Bellevue branch, the library is looking at possibly adding an addition to the back of the building.
In addition to local funding and state aid, Coyl said the library hopes to receive funding for the construction projects through the New Jersey Library Construction Act.

The New Jersey Library Construction Bond act was approved by the state in 2017. It makes $125 million available for public libraries for construction and repair projects.

Libraries can apply for funds in the spring of 2019.