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. Currently, however, the Library is undergoing a massive set of changes, all of which will greatly benefit the residents of Wallington and the surrounding area! 

 

To start, the Library is 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 home. The Library will finally leave its “temporary location” and move to 125 Main Avenue 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 is being built at 125 Main Avenue, 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 complete on the exterior design. A site plan was finalized and a Groundbreaking Ceremony took place on Thursday, November 11, 2021. In April of 2022, demolition began at 125 Main Avenue while bids for the construction of the Library’s new building were returned and a contract was awarded by the Borough. Demolition of the original building has since been completed and construction is currently underway on the new library building.

 

While 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, we know that Wallington residents had to say goodbye to the VFW Post 2640 building. Many in Wallington have happy memories of events held at Post 2640 and it is our hope that the Veterans’ generous contribution will be the source of continued happiness once the new library is completed. In order to honor those happy memories and the Wallington Veterans’ contribution, one last change will happen once the new library building is completed. The John F. Kennedy Memorial Library will become the Wallington Veterans Memorial Library as a tribute to the Veterans who helped make the dream of a new library building a reality.

 

Be sure to swing by 125 Main Avenue often to see all of the activity taking place as the new library building takes shape and be sure to check in at 92 Hathaway Street for updates about the progress of the project (and to take home a book or two)! Make sure to also check back on our website for regular updates about the Library. Sign up for our newsletter to 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 ennist@wallington.bccls.org.

Ongoing Construction
Started July 2022

new library construction foundation 5.jpg

Start of Demolition
April 27, 2022

demo 4.jpg

Groundbreaking Ceremony
November 11, 2021

construction equipment and plans for the new library's exterior

Construction equipment and plans for the new library's exterior.

Photo credit: Tomasz Wolosik