BAYONNE and JERSEY CITY, NJ - Jersey City and Bayonne may be among the first libraries in the state to receive funding for improvements under the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act.

The two libraries were among 38 projects around the state recommended to receive a portion of the $87.5 million in construction funds, with the Jersey City Public Library receiving $5 million and $1 million being earmarked for the Free Public Library and Cultural Center of Bayonne.

The result of a 2017 ballot referendum approved by voters, the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act, set aside dollars to fund critical improvements to public libraries. Each project must provide 50 percent in matching funding as part of receiving the grant.

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Legislation awarding these grants has been submitted to the state Assembly and is expected to be in the state Senate shortly. When passed by both houses, the legislation will go to the governor for his approval.

“Libraries make significant impacts in our local community. They serve as resources not just for reading material, but also for internet access for many residents,” said Assemblyman Chiaravalloti. “These improvements are necessary and much-needed, and I couldn’t be happier to see this funding be put to good use.”

Jersey City has been upgrading its main library since 2015 and has plans to open a new branch library as part of the redevelopment of Holland Gardens.

“Just days after we announced plans to build a new library branch within one of Jersey City’s public housing sites, it’s especially encouraging to hear that we may receive much-needed funding to further our efforts of expanding access to quality services and resources,” Fulop said. “With 10 locations citywide, our libraries provide community-focused educational, cultural, and employment resources that many of our residents are relying on now more than ever before due to the pandemic.”  

In Bayonne, the city council authorized the application for the grant in March that would help pay for a major upgrade with the help of a $2 million NJ Library Construction Bond grant. According to City Law Director Jay Coffey, under the plan the city would use a combination of municipal bonds and library funds to cover $1 million of the total $3 million project.

“The City of Bayonne would like to thank Governor Murphy, Assemblyman Chiaravalloti and their colleagues in Trenton for supporting this grant to the Bayonne Free Public Library. This funding will enable the library to make significant capital improvements to the building, which plays an important role in the life of our community,” said Bayonne’s Mayor Jimmy Davis. “The renovations will include upgrading access for the disabled, improving the boiler, repairing leaks and the in-wall drainage system, fixing the façade, expanding the Children’s Room and modernizing the indoor aesthetics.”

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