Libraries have long been about more than books. Some rent out artwork. In more eco-minded communities, they loan Kill-A-Watt meters for measuring how much juice a particular devices uses.
Camden County has topped them all. Two libraries now have charging stations for electric cars.
It's part of a new $60,000 network of seven charging stations the county freeholders recently had installed. The Department of Energy paid half the tab with a matching grant. Camden County also entered into a pilot cost-sharing program with ECOtality North America to install the countywide charging infrastructure.
The charging stations are located at the South County Regional Branch Library in Winslow Township and the Bellmawr Branch Library, plus the Camden County Boathouse at Cooper River, the Camden County Technical School in Gloucester Township, and Camden County College's Campuses in Gloucester Township, Cherry Hill and Camden City.
The new charging stations are on the U.S. Department of Energy's website www.afdc.energy.gov/locator/stations/.
Meanwhile, it looks as if New Jersey is a good place to have an electric car.
A recent analysis by Climate Central, a Princeton-based group that conducts scientific research on climate change, looked at how where you live makes a difference in the greenness of what you drive.
"An electric car is only as good for the climate as the electricity used to power it. And in states that rely heavily on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas for their electricity there are many conventional and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that are better for the climate than all-electric cars," the authors of the report wrote.
The report singles out New Jersey as one of 11 "climate-friendly electricity states" because in 2012 it got just three percent of its power needs from coal. Even when the manufacturing footprint is factored in, " the best electrics are better for the climate than any gasoline car," the report found.