Approval of this legislation will result in $125 million in matching funds for capital projects at public libraries in New Jersey
Trenton, NJ, November 8, 2017 – The New Jersey State Library is pleased to announce that the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act passed with a nearly 60 percent approval margin with New Jersey voters, providing $125 million for county and local library construction and renovation projects statewide. The Bond Act will enable NJ public libraries to build the capacity of their current facilities, and make much needed upgrades to technology infrastructures. The Bond Act will also provide an economic stimulus throughout the state by providing jobs for the construction industry, including building trades, architect, engineering and technology firms.
“Congratulations to everyone involved. This is a victory for the people of New Jersey, and an investment in their future,” said Mary Chute, New Jersey State Librarian. “Libraries are anchor institutions in our communities. They are places of lifelong learning and community engagement. Since the last statewide construction project passed in 1999, many NJ libraries have been unable to meet the demands for capital and technology improvements to their facilities. Libraries across the state have been in desperate need of funds for construction projects in order to transform and adapt to meet community needs. Voters turned out on Tuesday, and their voices have been heard. There is agreement that building the capacity of libraries and access to library services in communities improves the overall health of New Jersey and makes the region stronger.”
The State Librarian, in consultation with the President of Thomas Edison State University, will set eligibility criteria for the grants. Under the bill, for any approved project financed by bond proceeds, the grant award may support up to 50% of the eligible cost of the project. These funds will allow facilities to become fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and will present the opportunity to explore environmentally friendly “green” initiatives, and the building of disaster resilient infrastructures.
The passing of the NJ Library Construction Bond Act would not have been possible without the contributions of our General Assembly, Senate and statewide organization supporters, residents who advocated on behalf of New Jersey public libraries and voted in favor of this bond issue, and the tireless work of our New Jersey Library Association and “NJ Libraries Build Communities” team.
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About the New Jersey State Library
The New Jersey State Library (NJSL), an affiliate of Thomas Edison State University (TESU), connects people with information and resources through its service to libraries, state government, TESU staff and students, and NJ residents, including those with special needs. NJSL provides support for public, school, academic, and special libraries, and continues to promote services for learners of all ages, including key areas of continuing need such as digital literacy, business outreach, workforce development, summer reading programs, and services for the visually and physically impaired, among others. For more information, visit www.njstatelib.org.