Four Burlington County libraries will undergo facilities upgrades with $1 million in state funding secured by State Senator Troy Singleton.
The Burlington County Library Commission voted this month to accept the state funds for capital improvements at the Burlington County Library in Westampton and at the branch libraries in Cinnaminson, Evesham and Pemberton Township.
The library system plans to use the funds to redesign some of the interior spaces in each of the four buildings to improve customer experiences. The funding was included in the 2023 New Jersey State Budget at the behest of Senator Singleton after the four Burlington County libraries failed to receive funding during both rounds of New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act awards.
“Libraries are more than just a place to find books. They are pillars of our communities that serve as repositories of knowledge and as locations where residents can remain connected in the digital age,” said Senator Singleton, who co-sponsored the Library Construction Bond Act. “Just as our libraries must evolve to meet the needs of our communities, it is incumbent on us to invest in them to ensure they have the resources needed to make those changes.”
Singleton has served in the Legislature since 2011 and is a founding member of the Burlington County Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds and advocating for Burlington County libraries. In 2018, he was presented the Foundation’s Library Advocacy Award in recognition of his support for the Burlington County Library System and libraries across the state. Additionally, this year, he was honored by the New Jersey Library Association as their “Library Champion.”
“Burlington County Library System is over 100 years old, making it the first and oldest county library system in New Jersey, and we are deeply appreciative of this funding to help make some new improvements to our main library and these three library branches,” said Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Tom Pullion, liaison to the Burlington County Library System. “Our Board would especially like to thank Senator Singleton for advocating for these libraries and the importance of this investment. This funding will not only help us improve these library facilities, it is also direct tax relief since the entire expense of these projects will not need to borne by the county and local taxpayers.”
The Burlington County Library in Westampton was constructed in 1971 after originally existing in various buildings in an around Mount Holly. The building underwent its first major renovation in 1992 when additions expanded it from 32,000 to 48,000 square-feet. It was expanded again in 2013 when an additional 15,380 square-feet of space was added, including a 250-seat auditorium, café, larger information desk, story room and community space.
The Cinnaminson Library on Riverton Road opened in 1966 and was the BCLS’s first branch library. It was renovated in the late 1990s to convert the basement into a children’s room and to add a public meeting room.
The Evesham Library was constructed in 1998 as part of the Township Municipal Building on Tuckerton Road. This will be the first major investment in the library since.
The Pemberton Community Library, located on Broadway in Browns Mills, opened in 2001 in a building constructed as a replacement for both the previously separate Browns Mills and Pemberton Borough libraries. This will be the first major renovation to the building since then.
“Working alongside our municipal partners, this funding will allow the library system to make significant improvements in accessibility, technology and customer experience to better serve residents,” said Burlington County Library Commission Chairman Jonathan Chebra. “We’re extremely thankful for the advocacy of Senator Singleton for championing our libraries and working with his colleagues and the governor to secure this funding. This is truly an example of state, County and local resources being leveraged to enhance the quality of services offered to Burlington County residents.”