Libraries across the Garden State are hoping to soon get access to funding from a $125 million bond issue approved two years ago for badly needed renovations and upgrades that have been put on hold for decades.

According to Pat Tumulty, the executive director of the New Jersey Library Association, some libraries will be using this money for “new construction, renovation, upgrading of your buildings, it’s really very much on whatever capital needs the library has.”

“Our libraries are now really community centers," she said. "They are places where people have lots of meetings. They’re just a tremendous community asset.”

She pointed out many libraries need more space because they have become the technological centers of their community.

“When a new technology comes out, the library is one of the first places to actually incorporate that into their work and then provide many training classes for the public," she said.

Tumulty also said some of the money will also be used to upgrade technology.

“Obviously, our libraries all have internet connections now but we actually need more Wi-Fi because we’re finding many people coming in with their own devices now," she said.

Some libraries may use funding to create computer learning labs.

“Some folks will come into the library to have a meeting and may or may not bring their own laptop or tablet, so that makes tremendous demand on our libraries to upgrade those kinds of facilities.”

Tumulty said this is really about changing with the times.

“You will still find many, many books in our libraries, but you will also find we have eBooks, we have audio books. Resources are not just the printed page," she said.

She pointed out many people who do not have a computer at home will be using their local public libraries to fill out their 2020 census forms.

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