How Ballot Question No. 1 Can Help Local Libraries

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“It had leaks, it was dark, it was damp, and when it was built, of course, there was no such thing as the internet or broadband and so wiring needs and technology needs were at the forefront,” said Laverne Mann, director of the Cherry Hill Public Library. 

Those were what Cherry Hill residents had to deal with when it came to visiting their old library.

They were in desperate need of change when the New Jersey Bond Construction Act was passed 15 years ago allowing the town to tear down the old and make room for the new.

“We’re really a place for programming, tech, and collections,” said Mann. “Of course, reading and literacy is a big part of what we do.”

Smartphones and the internet still haven’t replaced a good book and libraries.

Related: State Residents to Vote on Allocation of Settlement Funds

Based on how residents vote tomorrow on ballot question one can determine if facilities like this get more money and upgrades across the state.

“We need more space, and we need more technology, and we need all of those things,” said Mann, referring to libraries across the state. “I mean it only strengthens your town, their literacy, digital literacy, regular literacy to grow.”

The last capital bond act allowed 68 municipalities to get a new library or renovations.

Smartphones and the internet still haven’t replaced a good book and libraries.

If passed, the state will allow $125,000,000 be matched with municipalities across the state, equaling $250,000,000 going into the economy.

“There are construction jobs, there are small business jobs, and it will be great for the state in general,” said Mann.

Although newer libraries like Cherry Hill might need something more simple like a new coat of paint or upgraded the HVAC system, Mann says many others across the state need a serious boost.

“I believe 40 percent of libraries don’t even meet the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA,” said Mann. “That is something that desperately needs to be addressed. I think otherwise, it’s a lot of outdated and outmoded facilities that haven’t been upgraded in a long time.”

With the new facility, local residents of all ages have more access to technology, literacy, and programming in Cherry Hill than ever before.

The referendum on this year’s ballot could bring that change to dozens of other local communities.

Where to Find Your Local Polling Places

Letter to the Editor: Support Library Construction Bond on Ballot this Election Day

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