Maplewood Library Proposed to Receive $8.3M From State Construction Bond Act

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Update from Library liaison Vic DeLuca: The project is now estimated at $19.5M with $8.3 million from state, $10 million from the Township of Maplewood, and $1.5 million raised by the Library Foundation. Construction work to begin in 3rd Quarter 2021.

From the Maplewood Library:

On November 5, Governor Phil Murphy delivered to the NJ State Legislature a list of proposed projects from the Library Construction Bond Act that includes $8.3 million for the Maplewood Library Project “A Library for the 21 st Century.” The Bond Act, approved by voters in November 2017, authorized $125 million to fund critical improvements to the state’s public libraries. The Legislature must approve the appropriations for the bond awards.

Adult Reading Room rendering from a 2017 presentation

Kate McCaffrey, President of the Maplewood Library Board, said, “We were thrilled to hear the good news from Governor Murphy. Our library is the heart of our community. Nearly 1,000 children, teens, adults and seniors benefit daily from our services, but our physical plant is badly out of date. The $8.3 million state grant, along with Township funds and support from the private sector, will allow us to provide the crucial upgrades that our necessary to serve our community.
This is welcome news during very anxious and difficult times. I want to thank the Maplewood Township Committee, Library Foundation, Friends of the Library, Library Trustees and Staff, and the broader community who helped us to secure this vital state funding.”

“This is such fantastic news,” said Sarah Lester, Maplewood Library Director.  “We look forward to building an accessible, inspiring and technologically advanced library that will serve the Maplewood community for years to come.”
Maplewood was one of 38 projects recommended to receive funding out of 129 applications reviewed by a committee comprised of experts from across relevant State agencies. The initial round of funding amounts to $87.5 million. Each library must provide a 50 percent match to fund its proposed project.

Assembly members Mila Jasey and John McKeon (both D-Essex, Morris) said, “In the age of smart phones, tablets and access to unlimited information at the touch of a button, libraries have become about so much more than just books. Libraries are community spaces, offering a variety of family programs, enrichment classes and access to high speed internet. During the pandemic, local libraries have expanded their reach to offer curbside service, home delivery for seniors and Zoom presentations. Their role in their communities has never been more important. This support from the Bond Act will help the Maplewood Library to continue growing and innovating.”

The Maplewood Library Project “A Library for the 21 st Century” includes a total reconstruction of the Baker Street building into a two story building. It will have a redesigned main entrance, ensuring that all people come through our doors the same way. Major public spaces will be on the first floor and centrally located elevators and restrooms will eliminate current barriers to accessibility.

  • Library space will increase by 35%, seating will expand by 77% and collections grow by
  • Total public meeting space will increase by 77%, from 226 square feet to 400 square feet.
  • A new 233 seat Community Room will offer exterior access for use after library hours,
    state-of-the-art audio and video technology with amplification equipment for the hearing
    impaired and a full-service kitchen.
  • A separate Children’s Program Room, adjacent to a Children’s Zone, will feature flexible
    space, seating for 60 and a craft area.
  • 150 reader seats will be in the Adult Zone to support patrons’ needs, from quiet,
    individual work, to group projects, serendipitous interactions with friends or neighbors,
    and reading.
  • A 16-seat conference room will include Smart Board/flat-screen technology and
    audiovisual equipment. Three collaboration rooms and two larger rooms will be available
    for meetings, presentations, webinars, and conferences. Four quiet study rooms will each
    accommodate one to two users.
  • Internet bandwidth will be expanded, public computing in the new building will be a mix
    of stationary public computers and mobile devices and seating for computer use will
    increase by 69%.
  • A state-of-the-art MakerSpace/Computer Lab will support STEAM (Science,
    Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning. The space will be supported by
    wireless and wired Internet connectivity and equipped with mobile laptops, color printers,
    3D printers, scanners and Digital Media creation technology.
  • A Business Center will provide state-of-the-art equipment for replication and printing and
    include the conference and study rooms described in 3.1.2. The Business Center will be
    available to adults working from home or remotely and to those scheduling job
  • A Local History Center will be established with a collection of 1,000 items.
    The design of the new building will address anticipated guidelines and best practices for public
    health in the wake of COVID-19, including having the capacity to manage social distancing
    while serving the largest community possible. It will have generator capacity in order to continue
    providing services to the community in times of emergency or disaster, and the flexibility to
    welcome people, while safely keeping them apart.

The architect for the project is Sage and Coombe Architects, an award winning New York City
and New Jersey firm that is a certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE).

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