ROSELLE, NJ — The New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act has passed both houses of the state legislature, allocating over $87 million to libraries across the state, $5.5 million of which will be going to the Roselle Public Library (RPL) for renovations and a new addition.
“We’re so excited at the thought of having money for community programming,” said Roselle Public Library Director, Jeanne Marie Ryan. “We’ve been trying to offer 2020 services on 1938 technology.”
Out of over 120 applicants Roselle received the fourth highest grant award of the 38 libraries that were chosen.
In addition to the new technology the Library will be able to purchase, the Roselle Public Library will house a much larger children and teens section on the second floor of the addition. The current library has a maximum of 79 occupants, with the new renovations the maximum occupancy will increase to 279. Renovations of the existing library building will include better Wi-Fi, ADA accessible stacks and new HVAC.
“It’s not only about improved libraries but it's also about jobs for construction workers and small furniture, upholstery, electric and plumbing businesses,” said Ryan. The Bond Act did receive support from unions, including the Communications Workers of America, a union to which many library staff members belong.
The bill passed with overwhelming support with 52 co-sponsors and 8 primary sponsors including both assembly members who represent Roselle, Jamel Holley and Annette Quijano. New Jersey voters approved the Bond Act in 2017 via ballot initiative; in Roselle, over 50% voted yes in each of the 5 wards.
“The New Jersey Library Association worked with Alliance for Action to help build bipartisan support for the bond referendum,” said Ryan.
Former Mayor Christine Dansereau got the ball rolling on this project by putting together the library planning team which included Council President Denise Wilkerson, former Councilwoman Kim Shaw, former Economic Development Coordinator Isiah Barr, grant writer David Biunno, Library Board Trustees Maureen Boyle, Elaine Rittinger, Adrienne Williams, and R. Eudora Winston, and Roselle Library staff members Jeanne Marie Ryan and Natalie Peitsinovski.