Big Changes for the Wallington Library!
The John F. Kennedy Memorial Library has served the Wallington Community for decades in its “temporary location” above the Department of Public Works. Soon, however, the Library will undergo a massive set of changes, all of which will greatly benefit the residents of Wallington and the surrounding area!
To start the Library will be changing locations. The Wallington Veterans graciously provided their VFW Post 2640 property to the Borough so that the Library could be moved to a new location. The Library will finally leave its “temporary location” and move to 125 Main Ave and into a brand new library building!
A lot of work went into putting funding together in order to build a new library. Throughout the years the Library Board of Trustees set capital funds aside expressly for a new library building. Long-time and much loved library patron, Joan Madey, left the Library $500,000.00 to be used for the building of a new library. The Mayor and Council supported and pushed for a new library, enabling the Borough to apply for a grant through the Library Construction Bond Act.
The Library Construction Bond Act (LCBA) was approved by New Jersey voters in November of 2017. The Act authorized $125 million in state bonds to fund critical improvements to New Jersey Public Libraries. Those wishing to be awarded a grant through the LCBA needed to identify a 50% match to fund their proposed project. Due to the tireless work of the Library Board of Trustees and the generosity of the Wallington Veterans and Joan Madey, the Borough was able to apply on behalf of the Library during the first round of funding through the Act, which took place in 2020.
On November 20, 2020 Governor Murphy signed legislation which awarded 38 separate libraries across 16 counties grants through the LCBA. The John F Kennedy Library was one of the 38 and was awarded $1,525,475.00. The grant program was highly competitive. More than 129 applications underwent a rigorous review that ranked the applicants’ projects and decided on the 38 libraries who would receive grants during this first round of funding. The hard work of the Library Board of Trustees, the Mayor and Council, the Borough’s grant writers, and all who had a hand in the application process allowed the Library to achieve the funding necessary to build a new library and finally leave its “temporary location” after almost 60 years.
The new library building, which will be built at 125 Main Ave, will do away with the limitations of the Library’s current location. The new building will have a designated children’s area, expanded space for studying and reading (including a reading area around a cozy fireplace - an homage to the fireplace in VFW Post 2640), a community room for programming, and in general more space for everything including the Library’s collections and computers. There will be both a front and back porch, green space, benches, and extended WiFi all so visitors can enjoy the outdoors while reading, working, or relaxing. The new location will also offer a parking lot with ample space for anyone stopping in at the Library.
The footprint of the building is set and the final touches are being placed on the exterior design. A site plan is being finalized and a Groundbreaking Ceremony took place on Thursday, November 11, 2021 to mark the beginning of the demolition of the existing structures on the 125 Main Ave property. Once demolition is completed, construction on the new building will take place. Look for a lot of activity at 125 Main Ave at the end of this year and as we head into 2022!
One last change that will happen once the new library building is completed is that Wallington’s Public Library will be given a new name. The John F. Kennedy Memorial Library will become the Wallington Veterans Memorial Library as a tribute to the Veterans who made the dream of a new library building a reality by providing the property and thus the jumping off point for the fruition of a dream long held by many in Wallington.
We look forward to all of the exciting things that will be happening as our new library is built and we move into our new home. Make sure to check back on our website for updates about the Library. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you never miss information about our new library and about the wonderful things that we are doing here in our original home.
For more information about the new library building please feel free to contact the Library Director, Kathryn Ennist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 11, 2021
Construction equipment and plans for the new library's exterior.
Photo credit: Tomasz Wolosik