Opinion: Libraries occupy valued and important center of community life

PHOTO COURTESY OF ROSEMARY GOHD

Congratulations to three libraries in the16th Legislative District – the Hunterdon County Library in Flemington, the Montgomery Township Library Branch of the Somerset County Library System, and the South Brunswick Township Public Library in Middlesex County –  for being among the 38 highly rated projects from 16 counties that have been awarded funding from the Library Construction Bond Act (LCBA).

The specific awards are: Hunterdon, $980,837; Montgomery, $5,375,000; South Brunswick, $3,586,852.

 

On Nov. 16, the members of the NJ State Legislature unanimously passed legislation to appropriate $86.5 million from the library construction bond issue that voters approved three years ago. Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign the legislation into law immediately. Funding will become available soon afterwards for the projects encompassing construction, reconstruction, development, extension, improvement, and furnishing of New Jersey’s public libraries.

A second round of awards is planned for the first quarter of 2021.

Libraries occupy such a valued and important center of community life in towns throughout New Jersey. They serve as  the community’s living room where people gather to connect with their friends and neighbors and to broaden their horizons from all of the library’s information resources, as well as the talented and welcoming library staff.

 

I am continually impressed with the juxtaposition of high tech information services with the familial personal environment. In addition, the libraries have been creatively responsive in finding ways to serve the community during these COVID-challenging times with strategies such as curbside pickup, extensive virtual programming, outside story readings and special browse-and-go visits.

 

My heartfelt thanks to all the library directors and staff who work so intelligently, creatively, compassionately and energetically to improve the quality of life for all of us.

 

 

Andrew Zwicker
Assemblyman, NJ 16th Legislative District