TRENTON – Today, Governor Phil Murphy signed A4942, which authorizes nearly $87.5 million to be distributed to proposed projects for the first round of funding from the Library Construction Bond Act. This funding will provide crucial improvements to New Jersey public libraries, including ADA compliance upgrades for disabled residents, HVAC improvements, and projects to improve public access to information and modernize community space, including procuring new technology. This initial grant round will also fund ten new library buildings. A second round of awards is planned for the first quarter of 2021.
“Our public libraries serve as community bedrocks providing resources and information to thousands of New Jerseyans,” said Governor Murphy. “With today’s bill signing, libraries will receive critical funding to address accessibility issues for our disability community and provide necessary safety improvements for adequate ventilation systems, as well as upgrading technology that will help shrink the digital divide in communities across the state.”
The following projects will receive the first round of funding:
“We are thrilled to learn that the Governor has signed a bill into legislation allowing for the initial grant round of LCBA funding to be distributed to the selected New Jersey libraries,” said Mary L. Chute, New Jersey State Librarian. “The pool of eligible applicants reflected many strong projects responding to compelling community needs. These 38 awards rate as the ‘best of the best’ by the review committee. We congratulate them and look forward to seeing their projects get underway.”
“Governor Murphy’s signing of the Library Construction Fund Bill is tremendous news for libraries and communities across the state of New Jersey,” said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, President of Thomas Edison State University. “This bill allows for enhancing access and strengthening outreach at a time when libraries are needed more than ever.”
“I am grateful to see this grant funding finally being dispersed. Libraries are the cornerstones of our communities and these awards will go a long way towards improving their facilities and the services they offer,” said Senator James Beach. “Not only do our libraries have amazing collections of books, but they also provide educational programs and free access to internet-connected devices which many families around the state rely on. While often overlooked, their importance cannot be overstated.”
“Our public libraries offer so much to our communities and enrich the lives of countless individuals who utilize their many services,” said Senator Linda Greenstein. “This grant funding is going to go a long way and I am elated knowing this will make an impact in the lives of those who not only frequent public libraries, but depend on them for what they have to offer.”
“Public libraries serve as valuable community centers that everyone should have access to, but many facilities are in need of facelifts and safety and accessibility upgrades,” said Senator Kip Bateman. “I appreciate the Governor’s prompt action signing this bill in the same week it cleared the Legislature. The availability of these grants is good news for public libraries and the residents who utilize them.”
“It wasn’t long ago that libraries were the only place you could find answers to any question you could imagine,” said Assemblyman Louis Greenwald. “With a variety of enrichment classes, children’s programs and access to high speed internet, libraries have become community spaces for all to enjoy. Sadly, library funding has remained flat in recent years, leaving many with little resources to make improvements. These grants will go a long way in helping local libraries reach more people in their communities.”
“Libraries have something for everyone. For children, they open doors to the magical world of books and encourage a lifelong love of reading. For adults, they provide access to invaluable education, job training and personal development resources,” said Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez. “Above all, libraries help keep us connected. In these uncertain times, their role has never been more important.”
“During the pandemic, we’ve seen libraries across New Jersey find innovative ways to expand their reach, from curbside service to home delivery to Zoom presentations,” said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey. “It’s forward thinking like this that makes libraries so vital to our communities. This support will help our public libraries keep growing and innovating.”
“We are grateful to the Murphy administration and the state legislature for recognizing the strength of Parsippany’s library proposal,” said Mayor of Parsippany Michael Soriano. “This funding will help Parsippany continue the revitalization of North Beverwyck road and establish a state-of-the-art library that will benefit every resident of Parsippany.”
“I would like thank the Governor and selection committee for awarding funding from the Library Construction Bond Act to the Totowa Public Library,” said Mayor of Totowa John Coiro. “This funding will provide improvements to modernize our library and be more accessible to the community.”
”We are grateful for the Governor’s support in approving our grant request for funding from the new library bond funding,” said Mayor West Orange Rob Parisi. “It will allow us to move forward with building a new library that will serve the community for many years to come.”
“On behalf of all our residents, former and current Maplewood Township Committee members, our head librarian and the countless number of people who worked so hard on the proposal, we are thrilled with being a recipient of funding and want to express a heartfelt thank you to Governor Murphy and his team for their vision and efforts to move Maplewood and the state of New Jersey into the 21st century,” said Mayor of Maplewood Frank McGeHee.
“Libraries have the power to transform communities. I thank Governor Murphy for his visionary leadership in supporting public libraries throughout New Jersey,” said Mayor of Montgomery Township Sadaf Jaffer. “The $5.375 million library bond awarded to Montgomery Township will be used toward creating a space where we can learn about our past and present, make connections among diverse neighbors, and find support in times of difficulty. This library is crucial to Montgomery Township’s future, and we greatly appreciate the investment in our community.”
“We thank the Governor and the committee to grant this funding to the Dover public library to revitalize our library to better serve the community,” said Dover Mayor Carolyn Blackman.