Library Law Page 5





N.J.S.A. 18A:74-24 to 18A:74-28

Source and Effective Date
R. 2001 d.154 effective May 21, 2001
See: 33 N.J.R. 1620

Chapter Expiration Date
Chapter 21, State Library Aid and Grants, expires on November 12, 2017.

15:21-11.1 Purpose

The rules set forth in this chapter provide for a Public Library Project Grant Program, which authorizes the Public Library Construction Advisory Board to supervise and administer State funds to assist in the construction, expansion, rehabilitation or acquisition of a public library building, pursuant to the provisions of P.L. 1999, c.184 (N.J.S.A.18A:74-24 et seq.)

15:21-11.2 Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

“Applicant” means the library, municipality, or county providing the matching funds.

“Board” means the Public Library Construction Advisory Board established pursuant to section 3 of P.L. 1999, c.184 (C.18A:74-26).

“Public library” means a municipal, county or joint library established pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:33-1 et seq. or 40:54-1 et seq.

“Rehabilitation” means extensive renovation, alteration or reconstruction of existing buildings to be used for public library purposes.

“Substantial changes” means a 10 percent or more change in the eligible costs as submitted in the application to the Board.

15:21-11.3 Eligible applicants

(a) An eligible applicant is a municipal, county or joint library established pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:33-1 et seq. or 40:54-1 et seq.

(b) During the calendar year prior to submission of application, the library shall have met all criteria for receipt of State Library Aid (N.J.A.C. 15:21-2.7).

15:21-11.4 Eligible projects

(a) The following projects are eligible for a grant:

1. Construction of a new building to be used for public library purposes;

2. Construction of an addition to an existing building to be used for public library purposes;

3. Acquisition of land on which there is to be construction of new buildings or expansion of existing buildings to be used for public library purposes;

4. Acquisition of a building to be used for public library purposes;

5. Rehabilitation of existing buildings to be used for public library purposes, which may include but is not limited to energy conservation, providing access for the disabled, and bringing facilities into compliance with current health and safety standards. The rehabilitation must be extensive and clearly not routine maintenance and repair; and

6. Any combination of (a) 2, 4 or 5 above. The acquisition of land can be added to the preceding combinations.

(b) All projects shall meet the minimum size criteria in N.J.A.C. 15:21-11.6, e 1 Table A.

1. If the application combines a rehabilitation project, and the construction of an addition, the total floor space of the addition, when added to the floor space of the existing structure, shall meet the minimum size criteria in N.J.A.C. 15:21-11.6 (e) 1 Table A.

(c) For each rehabilitation and/or acquisition project, a building analysis shall be prepared by a registered architect and shall be part of the application. The architect or a building consultant shall prepare a building program and such program shall be submitted as part of the application. The architect shall certify that the rehabilitated structure and all its component parts shall have a life expectancy of 20 years or more. Studies made by the architect regarding the following shall be submitted in substantiation of the suitability and practicality of the acquisition or rehabilitation:

1. The building shall be examined to determine that it is structurally sound;

2. The building shall be examined to determine if it is suitable for acquisition or rehabilitation and upon completion will require no more than normal, annual maintenance;

3. An analysis of the space requirements and allocation of space shall be made to determine if the structure, as acquired or rehabilitated, will meet modern concepts of library services to the community it serves; and

4. An analysis of all mechanical aspects of construction to determine the need for replacement or improvement.

(d) The following projects are ineligible for a grant:

1. A school-public library combination;

2. Any project for which construction has been completed prior to the enactment of P.L. 1999, c.184 (N.J.S.A. 18A:74-24 et seq.) on August 18, 1999;

3. Refurbishing of an existing building (carpeting, painting, etc.) when not part of a rehabilitation project; and

4. Maintenance and repair.

15:21-11.5 Eligible project costs

(a) In order to promote the construction of projects in an economical manner, the Board, upon recommendation of the State Librarian, shall periodically set a ceiling on maximum per square foot project cost beyond which project costs will not be eligible in the computation of the State share of funding. Maximum square feet costs of new construction and renovation has been set for:

1. $160.00 per square foot for new construction;
2. $120.00 per square foot for renovation.

(b) Should some portion of the proposed construction be intended for use for other than library purposes, such as municipal offices or a general municipal meeting room, this space may not be included in the computation of available square feet of space. Construction costs relating to these non-public library use areas are not eligible to be used for matching purposes. The application shall clearly designate the non-public library use areas and their related costs. Grant awards shall be reduced by the amount of those related costs.

(c) The cost of any shared space submitted for grant funding shall be prorated on the basis of the percentage of library use. For example, a meeting room that shall be used 50 percent of the time by the public library is eligible for funding at only 50 percent of the cost.

(d) The following project costs shall be eligible for grants, at the discretion of the Board:

1. Construction of new buildings and expansion, rehabilitation or acquisition of existing buildings to be used for public library purposes;

2. Expenses, other than interest and the carrying charge on bonds, incurred after August 18, 1999, related to the acquisition of land on which there is to be construction of new buildings or expansion of existing buildings or acquisition of existing buildings to be used for public library purposes, provided the expenses constitute an actual cost or a transfer of public funds in accordance with the usual procedures generally applicable to all State and local agencies and institutions;

3. Site grading and improvement of land on which buildings used for public library purposes are located or are to be located;

4. Architectural, engineering, consulting and inspection services related to the specific project for which application for financial assistance is made;

5. Expenses relating to the acquisition and installation of equipment to be located in public library facilities, including all necessary building fixtures and utilities, furniture and equipment, such as library shelving and filing equipment, catalogs, cabinets, circulation desks, reading tables, study carrels, and information retrieval devices including video, voice, and data telecommunications equipment and linkages with a useful life of 10 years or more necessary for Internet access, but not including books or other library materials. Only equipment to be used in projects funded under this act is eligible. In no case shall costs for furnishings and equipment that are in excess of 30 percent of the total renovation costs of the project be considered eligible for matching.

15:21-11.6 Project criteria

(a) All applications shall meet the requirements and criteria of this subchapter. Exceptions may be allowed. Those interested in applying for possible exceptions must request an interview and present a written rationale to the State Librarian. Exceptions will be considered if they fulfill the purposes of the proposed or awarded grant more reasonably or efficiently. The State Librarian will present the request to the Public Library Construction Advisory Board for final approval.

(b) The applicant shall be in possession of a fee simple title or such other estate or interest in the site, including access thereto, as is sufficient to assure undisturbed use and possession of the facilities for not less than 20 years. Ownership of site by the applicant includes ownership of the land by the municipality(ies) of the applicant or the county(ies) in the case of a county or regional library application, provided that such land has been formally dedicated to library use.

(c) The applicant shall have local matching funds for the project (the difference between project costs and the potential grant award) which equal 300 percent of the grant amount before final approval can be given. Within three months following notification of eligibility for a grant award, evidence shall be submitted by the applicant that funds have been appropriated or bonds or debt have been authorized for financing of the project. Such evidence shall include copies of the ordinance of appropriation passed on final reading and approved.

(d) Floor space is meant to include total square footage of space available for public library purposes including outer walls, areas provided for mechanical equipment and maintenance requirements and storage. These areas shall have heat, light and ventilation and square footage commensurate with their purposes.

(e) The estimated population for 10 years after the year in which application is made shall be used to determine the population base of the area served by the applicant library. For areas experiencing a population decline, the population estimate of the New Jersey Department of Labor for one year prior to the fiscal year in which the grant application is made shall be used as the population base.

1. For new construction, the population base as determined above shall be used to compute the minimum project size, as specified in Table A below, required to qualify an applicant for a grant.

Table A

Population to be Served by the Project Minimum Square Feet of Floor Space
Under 10,000 3,500 square feet + .7 square feet per capita over 5,000 pop.
10,000-24,999 7,000 square feet + .6 square feet per capita over 10,000 pop.
25,000-49,999 16,000 square feet + .45 square feet per capita over 25,000 pop.
50,000-99,999 27,250 square feet + .35 square feet. per capita over 50,000 pop.
100,000-199,999 44,750 square feet + .25 square feet per capita over 100,000 pop.
200,000-499,999 69,750 square feet + .2 square feet per capita over 200,000 pop.
Over 499,999 129,750 square feet + .15 square feet per capita over 500,000 pop.

2. If the project is an addition to an existing building, the new construction shall result in total floor space which, when added to the floor space of the existing structure, shall meet the minimum size criteria as shown in Table A in (e) 1 above.

3. The percentages in Table B below may be used to reduce the floor space requirements in Table A above for the construction, acquisition or renovation of a central library if branch libraries serve the same population.

Table B

Population Served by
Central Library Percent of
Allowable Reduction Under 39,999 25 40,000 – 49,999 26 50,000 – 59,999 27 60,000 – 69,999 28 70,000 – 79,999 29 80,000 – 89,999 30 90,000 – 99,999 31 100,000 – 109,999 32 110,000 – 119,999 34 120,000 – 129,999 36 130,000 – 139,999 38 140,000 – 149,999 40 150,000 – 159,999 42 160,000 – 169,999 44 170,000 – 179,999 46 180,000 – 189,999 48 190,000 – 199,999 50 200,000 – 209,999 52 210,000 – 219,999 54 Over 219,999 55

(f) Library buildings and facilities shall be designed in accordance with State and Federal minimum standards for providing barrier-free access for the physically handicapped.

(g) All New Jersey labor laws and regulations shall be adhered to when applicable.

(h) All contracts shall be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder on the basis of open competitive bidding as specified in the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.

(i) Local and State codes with regard to fire and safety shall be observed. In situations where local fire and safety codes do not apply, recognized State codes shall be observed.

(j) Building plans shall be prepared by an architect licensed by the State of New Jersey.

15:21-11.7 Applicant priorities for the receipt of grants for single and multiple projects

(a) General provisions for priorities for the receipt of construction grants shall include the following:

1. Applicants submitting an application for only one project shall be considered first priority projects.

2. Applicants submitting an application for more than one project shall rank each project in order of priority.

3. Those applications properly submitted and found to be in an approvable form shall first be assigned to first or second priority.

i. First priority in award of grant shall be given to projects designated by the applicant as first priority projects; and
ii. Second priority in award of grant shall be given to projects designated by the applicant as second priority.

4. All first priority applications fulfilling the criteria of this subchapter shall be awarded grants before applications of the second priority are funded. Availability of funds and number of applications within each priority grouping shall, within any one fiscal year, determine the projects to be funded.

(b) Library building projects funded under this subchapter are ineligible to apply for additional funding from this grant program for five years after the initial award.

15:21-11.8 Amount of grant and method of allocation

(a) The State share of eligible project costs of any project eligible for a grant shall be no more than 25 percent.

(b) When actual costs are less than the amount approved, the grant award shall be reduced to reflect actual amounts.

(c) When actual costs exceed the amount approved, the grant award shall not exceed the original amount requested in the application.

15:21-11.9 Application procedures

(a) Application for a grant shall be in a completed official form available from the New Jersey State Library. The application will consist of a description of the project; general and specific project nformation; a cost estimate; a computation of project financing; and requirements for documents to be submitted as part of the application. Documents to be submitted shall be: an application and resolution(s) to apply; a written plan for service including a building program and community analysis; schematic plans which include a site plan, elevations, floor plans with furniture layouts; outline of specifications; cost estimates; legal description of the site and copy of deed; statement of compliance with minimum criteria for receipt of State Library Aid or a justification for not meeting the minimum criteria; a comprehensive plan for total system development for branch library projects; certification as to its suitability from an architect for the rehabilitation or purchase of a library building; bond ordinance or resolution of intent to provide funding; statement of pro-ration of eligible costs if applicable; statement of compliance with state and federal regulations regarding state and federal minimums for providing barrier-free access, applicable New Jersey labor laws, and the Local Public Contracts Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.).

(b) The application shall be made by the body charged with the responsibility for the establishment and maintenance of the library (board of trustees or county library commission, or county board of chosen freeholders, as appropriate).

(c) If a library facility is to be constructed by a municipality with the provision that it be equipped, stocked, staffed or supported by a library not an agency of that municipality (for example, a municipally constructed building which will be operated by a county library as a branch library), the application shall be in the name of the municipality. The application shall be signed by the mayor or chief financial officer and cosigned by an officer of the governing body of the library that is providing services.

(d) The person authorized to submit the application shall be an officer of the body named as applicant, preferably, the president or chairperson of this body. A statement to be signed and completed by the responsible officer of the applicant, for example, secretary of a board of trustees, shall certify this authorization. If the application is submitted under (c) above, an individual from each body shall be authorized and certified. The signature of each authorized person is required on the application.

(e) Any substantial changes or revisions affecting the application, after the application is submitted, including any structural changes in the building plans, shall be submitted on appropriate forms for approval. The Board shall have the power to revoke approval of any application or grant for failure to submit and receive approval of substantial changes in the application.

(f) Full approval of the proposed construction project must be given by the Public Library Construction Advisory Board and the Joint Budget Oversight Committee or its successor before any funds are allocated.

15:21-11.10 Review of applications

(a) The application shall be reviewed by the program manager for completeness and compliance with law and regulations. The program manager may request additional information or clarification.

(b) After the preliminary review by the program manager, the application shall be reviewed by a committee established by the Board.

(c) The committee established in (b) above shall then make recommendations to the Board.

15:21-11.11 Grant administration

(a) Failure to comply with any of the rules set forth in this subchapter shall make an applicant ineligible for funding.

(b) Architectural or engineering supervision and inspection shall be provided by the applicant at the construction site to ensure that the completed work conforms to the approved plans and specifications. For the purpose of inspection, representatives of the State Librarian shall have access at all reasonable times to all construction work being funded under the New Jersey Public Library Project Grant Program. The owner and contractor shall be required to facilitate such access and inspection.

(c) Construction shall be initiated and completed in a reasonable period of time. The time limit for completion shall be measured from the date of application approval. Construction shall be completed according to the following schedule:

Total Eligible Project Cost Maximum Construction Period Under $1,000,000 One Year Over $1,000,000 Two Years

(d) In the event that construction is not completed according to the timeline in (c) above, the State Librarian with the approval of the Public Library Construction Advisory Board has the authority to rescind the balance of the approved grant.

(e) The grant shall be paid to the applicant in three installments as shown below, but only upon receipt of satisfactory evidence of completion of each phase.

1. Forty percent upon approval of the award of construction contract(s); Satisfactory evidence may be minutes of the body approving the award; copies of title pages of contracts with necessary signatures; letters of award; or other proofs of award of contract;

2. Fifty percent when construction is 50 percent complete and upon submission of architect’s certification; and

3. Ten percent upon receipt of a temporary certificate of occupancy and project expenditure report.

(f) Upon approval of the grant, applicants shall enter into a contractual agreement with the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority. Each agreement shall include provisions as may be necessary to ensure that the applicant shall provide an amount equal to 300 percent of the grant amount.

5:21-11.12 Appeals procedures

Appeals from any action of the Board regarding the rules in this subchapter may be requested, and opportunity given for an informal fair hearing before the Board. In the event of an adverse decision after such informal hearing, applicants may request a formal hearing pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:6-9 et seq., 18A:6-24, 18A:6-27 and Reorganization Plan 002-1996. Such hearing shall be governed by the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (see N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq. and 52:14F-1 et seq., as implemented by the Uniform Administrative Procedure Rules, N.J.A.C.1:1).


Last Updated: June 28, 2013.