West Milford Library's Goal: A New Facility

By Zimmer, David M | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), January 4, 2015 | Go to article overview

West Milford Library's Goal: A New Facility


Zimmer, David M, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


WEST MILFORD -- The library's board of trustees has published a new six-year strategic plan with goals that include opening new library facility by 2016.

"This plan ... spans a period of time that we hope is a landmark in the history of the municipal library," Chairwoman Joan Oberer said. "We continue to strive to meet the needs of the community by being the agents of change."

Like the public library's last strategic plan, the 2015-20 plan sets goals for operations by considering trustees' views, staff knowledge and community opinions.

"Overwhelmingly, those surveyed expressed support for building a new library facility, expanding leisure space for patrons and offering updated technologies to better address the needs of library users," the plan states.

For more than five years, the library board has been planning to replace its facility with another, on the south end of the municipal complex. Its current building, according to state recommendations and popular opinion, is undersize at roughly 7,000 square feet -- only half of which is publicly accessible. The library board was initially planning to replace it with a three-floor, 24,500-square- foot building that would have all but maximized the construction allowance in the Highlands redevelopment permit for the municipal complex.

However, that plan changed, as did the board's financial situation.

Municipal records show the library board's annual state-mandated tax allocation has fallen from $1.3 million when the library purchased the half-acre site at the municipal complex in 2009, to $999,618. Consequently, the board now plans to proceed with the construction of a 17,000-square-foot, two-floor facility in 2015. In addition, the municipal government is due to fund and occupy 25 percent of the building per an agreement ratified in April. …

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