PATERSON, NJ - Paterson’s main public library will be among the first in the state to receive funding for improvements under the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act.

Following an announcement by Governor Phil Murphy last week, Mayor Andre Sayegh, joined by library director Corey Fleming and several members of the library’s board, stood on the steps of the Danforth Library on Broadway touting the award of more than $700,000.

Murphy’s announcement described that a total of 129 applications were received for the funding, with only 38 “highly-rated” projects ultimately being selected by the committee that included experts from several state agencies. “From major building renovations to vital technology upgrades, this bond program will transform our libraries to better serve and be more accessible to their local communities,” Murphy said.

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Once paired with the city’s required matching funds, the more than $1.4 million project will see an overhaul to the library’s children’s section, repairs to the aging building’s roof, and upgrades to variance components of the structure, including the library and restrooms, to make them ADA compliant.

“We are prioritizing literacy,” Sayegh said, adding that the projects are ones that Fleming has advocated for since the earliest days of the Administration, and ones that reflect the desires of the residents of Paterson. “When it came to getting this done our Library Director came to me with forceful conviction, and he was right.”

Calling it a great day for the City of Paterson, Fleming described that the grant was ultimately the result of a 2017 ballot referendum approved by voters, the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act, that set aside dollars to fund critical improvements to public libraries. 

While the award won’t allow for the completion of every project Fleming, or his counterparts on the Paterson Library Board of Trustees, would like to see, it is “a step in the right direction.”

“Every great library has a great library,” Fleming offered, concluding that while he often encourages celebrating “small wins” the Tuesday announcement represented “a big win.”

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