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New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act

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 to be announced in late spring 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 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.

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 library services.”

The State Library is currently drafting the regulations for this program which will appear in the New Jersey Register sometime this winter. After a public comment period of thirty days the regulations will be finalized and printed in final form in the New Jersey Register in late Spring. After the final printing of the regulations, guidelines and applications for the grant program will be sent to all New Jersey public libraries.

This web page was created for 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 Library Construction Bond Act, please contact Tina Keresztury as 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.