FRANKLIN TOWNSHP LIBRARY, 1584 COLES MILL ROAD, FRANKLINVILLE, NJ 08322, (856) 694-2833
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Franklin Township Library Receives $600,000 Grant
In early 2017, in anticipation of upcoming grant-related legislation, the Franklin Township Library hired a consultant to conduct focus groups in order to determine how it could better meet the needs of the community. The results showed that residents wanted the library to offer more programming, more technology, and more space for studying, book group meetings, etc.
On November 7, 2017, New Jersey voters approved a landmark new construction program, the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act, which authorized the issuance of $125 million in State General Obligation Bonds to provide grants for the construction, reconstruction, development, extension, improvement and furnishing of public libraries in the State of New Jersey. The last round of library construction grants was twenty years ago, when the Franklin Township Community Center was built.
After some discussion with various partners, it was decided that it would be more cost effective to renovate the library within the existing footprint of the community center by expanding out into the lobby. An architectural firm was hired to evaluate the area and provide a design to improve the space. The proposed design would facilitate barrier-free access, provide additional meeting space for technology instruction, programming, and meetings, as well as a teen center. The Historical Center would remain intact and it is hoped that it will be able to expand its hours, allowing more residents to see all of the wonderful local artifacts on display. Carol Coulbourn, Chair of the Historical Advisory Committee, stated that the “expansion was a good idea because it would better utilize the space in front of the Historical Center.”
The library submitted a grant application in June, 2020, and was awarded a $600,000 matching grant on December 1, 2020. Since the construction of the community center twenty years ago, library management has diligently put aside funds each year into a restricted building account. These funds will now be used, along with the grant, to completely cover the cost of the expansion.
At the December 28, 2020, Franklin Township Committee meeting, the Committee passed a resolution (R-187-20) allowing the library to expand into the lobby area of the community center. The Committee also congratulated the library’s Board of Trustees and director Deborah Riether for their hard work in obtaining this very competitive grant. Indeed, the Franklin Township Library was the only library in Gloucester County to receive any funding during this first round of grants.
Construction is scheduled to begin late 2021.
This project is supported by funds from the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act, administered by the New Jersey State Library.