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The governor this week recommended 38 proposed projects to receive the first round of funding from the $125 million Library Construction Bond Act (LCBA), which New Jersey voters approved in 2017 to fund critical improvements to public libraries.

There is $87.5 million available for the first round of projects, and all applicants were required to identify a 50% match. Legislative approval is required for the funds to be released.

“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,” Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday after the list of proposed projects was delivered to the Legislature.

New Jersey State Librarian Mary Chute said local libraries are eager to break ground on the projects that will make library facilities safer, more efficient and more accessible.

“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,” Chute said.

NJBIA supported the 2017 public question authorizing the bond sale because of the construction jobs the library projects would generate throughout the state, and the important programs and online services libraries provide, especially for jobseekers.

More than 129 applications were reviewed by a committee comprised of experts from across relevant State agencies, including 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. LCBA awards have been recommended for projects in 16 counties in round one. A second round of awards are planned for the first quarter of 2021, the governor said.

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