New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act

July 1, 2019 Update

As of today-July 1, 2019-the draft regulations have been posted to the New Jersey Register. They will be open for comment through August 30, 2019.

Submit written comments by August 30, 2019, electronically to mchute@njstatelib.org.  Each comment should be identified by the applicable N.J.A.C. citation, with the commenter’s name and affiliation following the comment. The State Library encourages electronic submittal of comments. In the alternative, comments may be submitted on paper to:

Mary L. Chute, State Librarian
New Jersey State Library
PO Box 520
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0520
Fax number 609-278-2652

Please click here to see the regulations.


June 18, 2019 Update (click to view Word Doc with full update)


May 1, 2019 Update:

Dear Public Library Director:

I am pleased to make available to you this information gathering survey for public library directors to complete and return if a construction project for their library is currently under consideration. The information requested on this form will inform the State Library in its planning for the administration and implementation of the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act grant program. Development of draft program regulations is on track for release in early Summer, after which time the public will have an opportunity to comment on them.

We are asking you to complete the survey if you are planning or considering a library construction project. Whether you intend to submit a New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act application or not, this survey will help the state understand the level and nature of need for library construction in New Jersey. The information received will be used by staff to anticipate the number of potential grant applicants, scope and nature of projects, and the potential total dollar amount of resources required to address needs across the state. Please fill out a separate form for each anticipated project proposal. For more information regarding this important program please visit the State Library’s New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act webpage.

Please fill out this survey with as much information as you have at this time. It is important, if you are planning to apply, that you fill out the estimated cost of your potential project. You may be asked to update the information at a later date.

The deadline for the return of the survey is Friday, May 17, 2019. Please return the survey form to Betsy Beavers by email: ebeavers@njstatelib.org, fax: 609-278-2652, or mail: New Jersey State Library, PO Box 520, Trenton, NJ 08625-0520.

Should you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact Tina Keresztury at 609-278-2640 ext. 133 or email Tina at ckeresztury@njstatelib.org. Tina’s time in the office is limited to twelve hours a week so please be prepared to leave a voicemail message or email her.

I appreciate your time in completing this important survey.

Sincerely,
Mary L. Chute
State Librarian


March 11, 2019 Update:

  • Construction Bond activities have started to move forward.  We are corresponding and meeting with our liaisons in the Governor’s Policy Office regularly.
  • The Governor’s Policy team has been brainstorming in-house regarding library construction and high level goals highlighting the value of this investment in our communities.
  • They have expressed interest in how much of the current need will be covered by the $125 million grants with their one-to-one match. Upon being advised that the $125 million figure was calculated a number of years ago when this campaign was first launched, it was suggested that we distribute a survey somewhere in this grant process to determine the overall level of need. Our NJSL core team had already designed a similar tool last summer. We will follow up to see if this poll will suit their purposes.
  • The policy team will be aiding us in eliciting responses to questions we submitted to other departments involved in the overall process.

January 16, 2019 Update:

The State Library has continued to work on various iterations of documents which will be needed for the Library Construction Bond Act so that we may be ready when the bonds are issued. At this time, however, there is no news on when the bond act will begin to be enacted. Thomas Edison State University has also done their part in the process. The State Library is waiting on direction from the Governor’s Policy Office as to when we may begin to move forward.

October 16, 2018 Update:

The New Jersey State Librarian, and other State Library staff involved in the Library Construction Bond Act program, attended an initial meeting on Friday, October 5 with staff of partnering agencies working to advance the Library Construction Bond Program.

State Librarian, Mary Chute, presented an overview of the construction program and what has been accomplished to date.  She discussed the draft regulations, the grant application package, forthcoming letter of intent, the resource lists and FAQS that we have provided to the library community and the guidance we have offered through many phone calls and emails. She also discussed meetings that have been held with the past and present Presidents of Thomas Edison State University.

Other topics included requirements for financing of the program, the status of the grant application package, and the potential program timeline.

Questions regarding the draft regulations which require answers from key agencies were also presented. A discussion of what specifically has to be done to move the library construction grant program forward was held with the responsible agencies discussing their specific role and general timeline.

As a result of this meeting, the State Library has sent copies of the draft regulations and corresponding questions to appropriate parties for review.  A working group for the advancement of the program will be established.

State Librarian Mary Chute commented, “The meeting was very productive. It was a major step forward to have everyone involved engage in the conversations and activities necessary to advance this program.”

PLEASE NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED TO HELP APPLICANTS PLAN. HOWEVER, UNTIL THE DRAFT REGULATIONS ARE APPROVED BY STATE GOVERNMENT AND ARE IN FINAL FORM, THIS INFORMATION COULD BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

A landmark new construction program, the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act, making $125 million dollars available in the future for public library construction was approved by New Jersey voters on November 7, 2017. Mary Chute, State Librarian, thanked the New Jersey Library Association, under the direction of Patricia Tumulty, Executive Director, for their efforts in successfully advocating for the Library Construction Bond Act, which received approval by both New Jersey legislators and voters.

The New Jersey State Library (NJSL) in coordination with affiliate Thomas Edison State University (TESU) will administer this new program.

Public libraries, namely municipal, county, joint, and association libraries will be eligible to apply for construction funds in a competitive grant program which we expect to be announced in Spring 2019.  Libraries will be eligible to:

a) apply to build a new public library building;
b) build an addition to an existing public library building;
c) acquire land on which to build a new public library building or to expand an existing building;
d) acquire a building to be used as a public library;
e) rehabilitate or renovate an existing building to be used as a public library;
f) repair major systems or components of a public library building in order to keep the building in efficient operating condition; and
g) make barrier-free access improvements such as ramps, elevators, restrooms, and other necessary improvements to bring the public library building in compliance with state and federal minimum standards for providing access for individuals with disabilities.

Public libraries may also apply for combinations of the above.

State Librarian Mary Chute’s goal is to have funds available as soon as possible for the program. “I want to thank all who supported the passage of the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act for their foresight in recognizing the value of the services that our libraries provide to New Jersey residents, “said Mary Chute.  “Our new and improved facilities will enrich the fabric of life in New Jersey and be a boon to New Jersey’s growing economy.  This program is a tremendous opportunity to provide the residents of our state with the best facilities and public library services.”

The State Library has submitted draft regulations to the appropriate agencies for this program. After a public comment period of thirty days the regulations will be finalized and printed in final form in the New Jersey Register. After the final printing of the regulations, guidelines and applications for the grant program will be available to all New Jersey public libraries.

The State Library has received many questions from public librarians, trustees and municipal and county officials about the regulations for this Bond Act and the applications that will be available. In particular, several questions have come up about how libraries, municipalities and counties should provide local matching funds. When applying for the grant, the applicant will have to certify that it has, or will have, the local matching funds for the project. Applicants will have to fill out a budget page showing the amounts of local funding and the source(s) providing the funds. When a public library is awarded a grant and a contract is signed, the applicant will have a period of time (probably ninety days), to provide evidence that they have the local matching funds in hand.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED TO HELP APPLICANTS PLAN. HOWEVER, UNTIL THE DRAFT REGULATIONS ARE APPROVED BY STATE GOVERNMENT AND ARE IN FINAL FORM, THIS INFORMATION COULD BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

This web page was created for public librarians who intend to apply for this grant and provides information on the program, resource lists of architects, building program consultants, interior designers, and fundraisers.  The State Library does not make recommendations on any of the firms listed on these resource lists, but provides them for informational purposes.  Worksheets on various topics related to library construction have also been developed.

For information on the Public Library Construction Bond Act, please contact Tina Keresztury at 609-278-2640 ext. 133 or ckeresztury@njstatelib.org.  Tina’s time in the office is limited to twelve hours a week so please be prepared to leave a voicemail message or to email her.

  • WBDG: Whole Building Design Guide This article, updated in 2017, gives an overview of design considerations for public libraries. The information on sustainable design is particularly interesting.  It provides a checklist to ensure that public libraries incorporate sustainable design. The article also provides a quick overview of space needs and design demonstrating the kind of determinations and calculations that a building consultant will provide.

Note:  We will not be posting any new FAQS at this time.  Other state agencies have now been given copies of the draft regulations.  Since they may begin a review of the draft regulations, we will not post any new content until we have approval from reviewing agencies. Please continue to contact Tina Keresztury if you have questions.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Updated: July 1, 2019