The year 2023 holds promise for patrons of the Ocean County Library, where new programs, innovations and plans mean new ways of “Connecting People … Building Community … Transforming Lives.”
Among the highlights:
• Launchpads – Pre-loaded and independent of the internet, Launchpads by Playaway provide brain-stimulating games for all ages. Patrons in good standing can borrow them for up to 28 days at a time;
• Sensory Spaces – Special quiet spots to de-stress; one is now available in the Jackson branch;
• Autism Resources Fair – OCL’s first live, in-person Autism Resources Fair since 2019 will take place April 15 in the Toms River branch. Meet with support and service groups, take part in workshops and enjoy live entertainment;
• Prom Dress Giveaway – All branches of the library will accept donated items from Jan. 3 through Feb. 16 to help teen prom dreams come true. Giveaways will follow at the Toms River, Brick Township and Little Egg Harbor branches;
• Memory Cafés – Individuals with mild memory issues and their care partners can gather for chat and friendships, beginning Jan. 5 in the Manchester branch; Jan. 14 in the Lacey branch; and Feb. 6 in the Toms River Branch. The programs are offered in
partnership with Alzheimer’s Association Greater New Jersey Chapter;
• OCL Centennial – Planning is under way for special events throughout 2025, when the Ocean County Library System will mark 100 years. Patrons and visitors will be welcome to share their own stories, reminiscences and memorabilia.
The New Jersey Department of Education announced it has approved $29.65 million in funding to help 42 school districts that are experiencing a reduction in state aid or are otherwise facing a budgetary imbalance.
Funding for the Stabilization Aid was made available through a $30 million line item in Gov. Phil Murphy’s Fiscal Year 2023 state budget, according to a press release.
The Jackson School District will receive $1.64 million in stabilization aid, according to the press release.
The department prioritized applications based on equipment, supplies, technology and furniture; purchase of school buses and other transportation costs; textbooks, if not requested and funded in Fiscal 2022 Stabilization Aid; and one-time security costs. The department also included two additional priority categories, according to the press release.
This is the second year Murphy’s annual budget has included Stabilization Aid, which is designed to support districts that saw a reduction in state aid due to the passage of a 2018 school funding law, according to the press release.
School districts that applied for the Fiscal Year 2023 Stabilization Aid were required to demonstrate how they plan to fund operations in future years when supplemental state aid is not available.
Districts that received Stabilization Aid funding in Fiscal Year 2022 were also required to describe how they implemented their Fiscal Year 2022 stabilization plan and how they will navigate the remainder of the phase-in of the 2018 school funding law without the need for additional funding, according to the press release.