Public libraries, which play a vital role in workforce development through the literacy programs, computer training and other resources they offer jobseekers, will benefit from a $37.2 million appropriation for construction projects under a law supported by NJBIA that was signed this week.

The legislation, A-6148/S-4221, appropriates funds from the Library Construction Bond Act approved by voters in 2017 to improve public library facilities across the state. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill authorizing the second round of funding under the bond act on Wednesday.

Funding from the bond act enables crucial improvements to be made at New Jersey public libraries, including ADA compliance upgrades for disabled residents, HVAC improvements, and projects to improve public access to information and modernize community space, including new technology.

The first appropriation of $87.5 million in funds from the bond act was made in 2020. That appropriation supported 38 library modernization projects and 10 new public libraries. All library construction projects require a 50% local funding match.

NJBIA supported the passage of the bond act because of the construction jobs that would be created, and the important training programs and services that libraries provide, including access to the technology that some jobseekers need to research and apply for jobs.

The legislation signed this week was sponsored by Senator James Beach (D-6) and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-18).