New Jersey's 16th Legislative District

Senator Kip Bateman

Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman Bill Cleared by Senate Heralds New Chapter in Library Construction

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More than $87 million would be appropriated for public library construction and development grants under bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Kip Bateman and approved today by the Senate.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Bateman and approved by the Senate appropriates more than $87 million for public library construction and improvement projects. (SenateNJ.com)

The appropriation is the first round of funding under the Library Construction Bond Act, approved by voters in 2017 and established by legislation sponsored by Senator Bateman.

“Public libraries are the cornerstones of communities across our state,” said Bateman. “This is an investment in the towns, cities and counties that will help educate children, train workers for new careers, provide crucial access to technology, and provide patrons with the opportunity to enjoy temporary respite within the pages of a good book.

“Strong libraries are valuable community centers that everyone should have access to, but many library facilities need facelifts, as well as safety and accessibility upgrades,” Bateman added. “Our public libraries have been waiting a long time for this important funding, and today’s vote by the Senate is a significant step forward.”

The bill, S-3176, appropriates $87,444,690 from the Library Construction Fund to cover 50 percent of the costs for designated projects. The grants require local governments to make up the remaining 50 percent of the costs.

Earlier this month, Governor Murphy recommended a list of qualified projects for the initial funding round, including 38 recipients. A second round of funding could happen as early as the first quarter of 2021.

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