FREEHOLD – The Freehold Borough Library has received a grant from the state that will help renovate and modernize the building.
Recently, Governor Phil Murphy proposed a list of projects to the Legislature for the first round of funding from the Library Construction Bond Act (LCBA). The Act approved $125 million in state bonds to fund important improvements to New Jersey public libraries. In November of 2017, the bond issuance was approved by New Jersey voters. Applicants had to identify a 50 percent match to fund their projects.
Of the 16 counties represented in the proposed project list, the Freehold Borough was one of the selected projects to receive the LCBA award.
“We’re all very excited about the grant. We worked very hard on the grant. There is a significant investment in money and time, just to even be able to apply for such a grant and then win it – it’s very gratifying,” said Kathy Mulholland, the Freehold Borough Library Director. “Our library is such a treasure and a gem in our community, to make it more available to everyone in our community is perfect. We are a small town. We’re really only supported by the borough of Freehold which has about a 12,000 population. So compared to some of the other libraries who have greater resources, we are not among those but we are very popular within our community. Everybody around us is just so excited about these changes.”
The LCBA award will specifically focus on HVAC improvements as well as other improvements in the library environment.
“Our library will benefit greatly from this. We’ll be getting a new roof which right now we put out buckets when it rains so it’s a great thing that will be fixed. We still have steam heat radiators so we will be upgrading from that. We’ll gain some collection space once the radiators are gone and we’ll put shelving there,” Mulholland said. “These changes are focused on space and opportunities for people. All of our storage space is going to be converted into public space and our 1903 building will still maintain its beautiful aesthetic.”
Along with Freehold Borough, other Monmouth County towns such as Red Bank and Avon-By-The-Sea are also receiving awards proposing other improvements like technology upgrades that will improve public access to information and modernizing the community space.
From all across the state, 38 crucial projects from 16 different counties were recommended to receive funding from the Act. During this initial round, about $87.5 million is obtainable and ready to be distributed among the projects. The committee reviewed more than 129 applications. This committee included experts from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Community Affairs, the New Jersey Treasury, and the New Jersey Historical Commission, among others.
“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,” said Governor Murphy. “I want to thank the State Librarian and President Hancock at Thomas Edison State University, as well as our partner agencies, on their collaborative work toward this effort.”
“New Jersey libraries continue to respond to the needs of our communities and are working tirelessly to bridge the digital divide and keep residents connected to many critical services which have become all the more essential in recent months,” said Mary Chute, New Jersey State Librarian. “We are eager to see local libraries break ground on these much-needed projects, which will make library facilities safer, more efficient, and more accessible for all people.”
“I am thrilled New Jersey has made this investment in our valuable library infrastructure,” said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, President of Thomas Edison State University. “The Library Construction Bond makes a significant impact through crucial library improvements that better serve our residents and support the educational and community priorities of the state.”
A second round of LCBA awards is planned for the first quarter of 2021.