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Plans for library upgrades advance with adoption of bond ordinance in Freehold Borough

FREEHOLD – Municipal officials in Freehold Borough are appropriating $1.78 million toward the cost of improvements at the Freehold Public Library, East Main Street.

On Feb. 19, members of the Borough Council adopted a bond ordinance that provides for the issuance of bonds or notes in that amount to finance the costs.

According to the bond ordinance, municipal officials expect to receive an $889,000 grant from the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act to help finance the planned improvements at the library.

The improvements at the library are expected to include wheelchair access to the entire facility; two new restrooms that will be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; a kitchenette for staff/program use; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades, according to Borough Council President Annette Jordan.

Jordan said additional accessibility improvements will be made at the library; there will be designated parking spaces adjacent to library for individuals who have a handicap; the staff office will be relocated; the circulation desk will be repositioned; and there will be a new teen room public space that will be reclaimed from storage and utility areas.

She said safety improvements to the front entrance of the library will preserve the building’s historic character; there will be remodeling and new shelving in the children’s room; updated electric service; a designated conference/study room; and additional shelf capacity, specifically for the children’s, teen and adult fiction collections.

The Freehold Public Library opened in 1904. It operates independently of the Monmouth County Library System and is funded exclusively by Freehold Borough taxpayers.

The library was built with a grant provided by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who funded the construction of 36 libraries in New Jersey. The Freehold Public Library is one of 17 Carnegie libraries that remain operational in the state.

After being open for months as the number of coronavirus cases in the state and local area decreased, the library had to close to the public several weeks ago when the pandemic took hold again and the number of cases increased.

Library Director Kathy Mulholland said the library is scheduled to reopen to the public today, Feb. 22, and is scheduled to resume a full schedule on March 1.

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