Cash is so tight in Camden, NJ these days that the city is considering permanently closing all three of its libraries.

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KYW’s Mike DeNardo reports that debate on the issue could get messy. When you shut down a public library system, you have to think about where the books go, where the materials in the libraries go — and that’s what the library board in Camden was discussing on Thursday.

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They’re making plans to shut down the public library system because the city is faced with a 70-percent cut in funding. The library board says there’s no way all three libraries branches can stay open after the end of this year. In fact, not even one branch could operate with the level of city funding that they have. So the board outlines plans to permanently close all three.

Camden mayor Dana Redd is trying to close a $28-million budget hole and the city funding she gave the libraries for next year was one-third of the budget that they had this year.

The decision to close the libraries may not be final though. The city is looking into possibly joining the county library system, and there’s the a question whether the voters will decide the libraries’ fate because voters, more than 100 years ago, created the system, so the question to close the system may also have to be put before the voters.

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(photo by KYW’s Mike DeNardo)