Residents are asked to ‘Imagine the Possibilities’ with Library campaigns

Alfred Baumann Library Director Linda Hoffman recently led a Library construction grant presentation to the Woodland Park Borough Council to provide more information about the project to the Council and the public.

The Council that night passed a resolution to execute a grant agreement with the state and introduced an ordinance to authorize the project, which essentially guarantees the full project funding and will allow the Library to commence construction on the project.

The Library’s construction campaign and plan, entitled “Imagine the Possibilities,” asks every resident to join them in making its vision for a 21st Century library a reality. It was recently awarded a $2.9 million New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act grant, the largest grant the Borough has ever received.

The total construction project stands at $5.8 million and it will take a true community effort and investment to make the plan a reality. In addition to the state grant, the Library has a $1.8 million municipal equity contribution (bond) commitment, has received Community Block Development Grants for $135,000, has over $1 million in Library Capital Reserve, and has $50,000 committed and an additional $25,000 pledged by the Friends of the Library. In addition, the Woodland Park Business Association donated $5,000, the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary donated $750, and residents have made individual donations in varying amounts of up to $5,000.

“Every day when I go to work I am reminded that a public library is one of the community’s most valuable resources,” Hoffman said. “This is what drives me, my staff, my library board, and our Friends to work so hard with passion and fearlessness – because we believe in public libraries!”

The needs of the Library have been changing and evolving. According to the 2020 Census Data, over the last 40 years, the population increased 19%. Over just the last 10 years, Woodland Park’s population grew 14.1%. New Jersey’s population overall grew 5.5%

Old wiring and infrastructure, HVAC in need of upgrades, old and heavy furniture, lack of ADA compliance, and lack of office and programming space are just a few reasons for the project’s need.

Hoffman showcased both the exterior and interior design in her presentation. The exterior of the building blends with the current building but feels updated and modern. 

The interior design includes a larger children area that will accommodate all children, including special needs children; a teen area; a lounge area where people can grab a cup of coffee; and an Innovation Lab, with computers, 3D printers, and media equipment, not only for children to create, but for adults and entrepreneurs. A large conference and community room will be able to host programs and community groups meetings. This space can be used even when the main library is closed. And in the back of the library, an amphitheater will be constructed to bring theater, culture, and music in a beautiful setting.

The Library will work to continue to raise funds for the project through a variety of capital campaigns. There will be a town-wide brochure going out this month, 60th Birthday Campaign in May ($60 for 60 years), round-up For Your Library Campaign, portfolio for large donors and naming opportunities, and ongoing Friends of the Library events. Additional grants will be sought to offset the cost. 

The Friends are also planning the following: a 2.5K9 Walk (2.5K for dogs and their humans) on Sept. 18; 50/50s in the spring and fall, Sweet Sensations Dessert Night on Oct. 15, and “Let’s Eat” Dinners to Go on Nov. 18.​

 

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