New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act

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 Fall 2018.  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 which we anticipate will appear in the New Jersey Register in late Summer 2018. After a public comment period of thirty days the regulations will be finalized and printed in final form in the New Jersey Register in Fall 2018. After the final printing of the regulations, guidelines and applications for the grant program will be sent 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 the Fall. 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.

June 18, 2018 Update:

  • The State Library is currently reviewing the 3 application packets
  • Tina Keresztury is working on a call for letters on intent
  • Work has started on an initial set of FAQs
  • The bond counsel firm has been selected
  • We are currently working to set up a kick-off meeting with Treasury, Bond Counsel, the State Library, and the Education Facilities Authority

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.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Updated: July 11, 2018