South River council will submit N.J. grant applicant for library upgrades

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The South Brunswick Library has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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South River Public LibraryVASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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The South Brunswick Library has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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South River Public LibraryVASHTI HARRIS/STAFF

SOUTH RIVER–Seeking funding for various improvements, the Borough Council approved a resolution authorizing the South River Public Library to submit a New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act application.

“[This] would allow for a 50% matching grant money for certain types of projects within the library. Most of the libraries in the state have been feverishly working to try and get ready for this. South River is also one of them we have a couple of projects. Obviously, if we could get the grant money that would be wonderful, and we are preparing for that,” Council President Raymond Eppinger said during a council meeting on May 26, when the resolution was approved.

The South River Public Library intends to a submit a 2020 New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act application for funding for improvements to the library, specifically, replacement of the HVAC units, according to the council.

The application documents will include design plans and estimates by Arcari-Iovino Architects reviewed and recommended by the library Board of Trustees. The estimated project cost is $271,400 and the grant application amount is $135,700, according to the council.

The borough and library will split the remaining cost, each providing $67,850 upon full funding of the grant request, according to the council.

Due to state-issued social distancing restrictions, the library has remained closed for almost three months.Library Director Evalina Erbe said the library is not able to open until the governor lifts the closing order.

“At the last [library] Board of Trustees meeting – and I know we have also been exchanging emails with administration, the mayor and myself – about planning for their eventual reopening and dealing with the social distancing and the guidelines that are going to be set up by the state,” Eppinger said. “We plan on being prepared as much as we possibly can.”

Despite residents not being able to make in-person visits, Eppinger said residents still have access to library resources and should visit the library’s website for more information.

“Our website offers a number of digital and online resources. Hoopla is for audiobooks and other downloadable items,” Erbe said. “Lynda.com offers a broad range of online courses. CreativeBug has lots of craft ideas suitable for all ages. A library card is needed to use these resources; there is a link on the library website with instructions on how to obtain a card.”

Erbe said the library offers a number of virtual programs via Zoom. These are posted on the library’s website, Facebook page and Instagram page.

“We are in the process of planning for reopening, but initially we will only be able to offer limited service during limited hours,” Erbe said. “All re-opening information will be posted on our website, Facebook, and Instagram. … Rest assured, we miss everyone and look forward to being able to provide services to our community.”

For more information, visit www.southriverlibrary.org or email srpl@southriverlibrary.org.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.