Gov. Phil Murphy has signed A-4942 into law and the legislation authorizes nearly $87.5 million to be distributed to proposed projects for the first round of funding from the Library Construction Bond Act.
The funding will provide improvements to New Jersey public libraries, including Americans with Disabilities Act compliance upgrades for disabled residents, plus heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements, and projects to improve public access to information and modernize community space, including procuring new technology, according to a press release from Murphy’s office.
The initial grant round will also fund 10 new library buildings. A second round of awards is planned for the first quarter of 2021, according to the press release.
“Our public libraries serve as community bedrocks, providing resources and information to thousands of New Jerseyans,” Murphy said. “With this 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 Red Bank Public Library will receive $150,000 and Library Director Eleni Glykis said the library “will be using the grant funding to complete an overall $300,000 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rehabilitation project. Existing infrastructure that inhibits the library from being a barrier-free building will be addressed and corrected.
“The project will include upgrading the main entrance and renovating the current bathrooms to be more ADA accessible and upgrading the existing elevator to better meet increased demand and usage.
“The library already offers over 400 programs annually with over 50,000 visitors to the facility a year. These enhancements to our building will ensure the library continues to be the dynamic force that meets our diverse and vibrant community’s ever-changing needs,” Glykis said.
Red Bank municipal officials will provide one-half of the required 50% match (or 25%) for the project, according to Glykis, who said the Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library has been raising funds to provide the match’s remaining portion.
“The foundation and the library would like to acknowledge the Iliad Fund, the Eisner Foundation and a group of local donors for their generous support toward this project,” she said.
Individuals who would like to make additional donations may reach out to the Red Bank Public Library at 732-842-0690 or at https://www.redbanklibrary.org/foundation
“We are thrilled to learn Gov. Murphy has signed a bill into law allowing for the initial grant round of Library Construction Bond Act funding to be distributed to the selected New Jersey libraries,” New Jersey State Librarian Mary L. Chute said.
“The pool of eligible applicants reflected many strong projects responding to compelling community needs. The initial 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,” Chute said.