ROSELLE, NJ - The $11 million renovation and expansion of the Roselle public library has progressed through a recent partnership between the Borough of Roselle and the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA).
In November 2020, Roselle was awarded a $5.5 million New Jersey Library Construction Bond Grant to transform the public library into a modern community resource center. The borough received the fourth largest grant in the state and has partnered with the UCIA to assist with project management and funding.
The partnership was approved by the state Local Finance Board this week.
“The mission of the UCIA is to help municipalities create and construct facilities that benefit the public. Partnering with the Borough to renovate and expand the existing library is the most efficient way possible to fulfill this goal and benefit the residents of Roselle,” said UCIA Project Manager Bibi Taylor. “We look forward to working together to complete this important project."
The overhaul of the library, at 104 W. 4th Ave., is expected to start this spring and includes the renovation of the existing 7,400-square-foot building, built in 1938, as well as the construction of a 15,400-square-foot, two-story addition.
Renovations will include updated HVAC and lighting, enhanced Wi-Fi, an ADA accessible entrance, expanded technology, a large multi-purpose community room, program rooms, study areas and more.
“The long-awaited expansion of our library is going to benefit all residents, everyone from students to seniors, because it finally brings much-needed enhancements to the hub of our community,” said Mayor Donald Shaw. “When this project is completed, the library will be more accessible and have the ability to accommodate more of the programming we envision.”
Shaw noted that the expanded children and teens section will be an exciting addition to the library, especially when Roselle Public School students return to in-person learning. The expansion will also increase the current occupancy rate from 79 to 279 people.
“I’m ecstatic about us moving closer to realizing the kind of library our community deserves,” said Council President Denise Wilkerson, a member of the Library Project Committee since its creation in 2018.
Councilman Brandon Bernier, chair of the Finance Committee, said the borough is eager to deliver an $11 million project to residents at half the cost, thanks to the $5.5 million grant from the state.
“Through our strategic partnership with the UCIA, we have now secured the necessary matching funds without overburdening our taxpayers,” he said. “We look forward to creating a 21st century library that everyone can be proud of.”
The Library Construction Bond Act was signed by Governor Phil Murphy on November 20, a milestone for libraries across the state, said Jeanne Marie Ryan, Roselle Public Library Director. Ryan was involved in advocacy efforts that ultimately led to the state to pass the $125 million bond referendum in November 2017.
“Roselle’s $5.5 million grant from the New Jersey Library Construction Bond is the culmination of years of work and planning,” she added. “We look forward to providing more services, collections, and programs for people in the community from a renovated and expanded library building.”