South Orange Library receives a $6.5 million capital improvement grant
Proposed Project Rendering
The grant will provide the core funds to build a 21st century library that will serve our community’s diverse and evolving needs for generations to come. The capital project includes renovation of our current library, rehabilitation of the historic Connett library building and construction of a glass link between the two. Accessibility, the scope of services, user experience, sustainability and capacity will all improve exponentially.
It Is Time to Connect
Libraries across the country are re-tooling to serve the rapidly evolving needs of their communities. The South Orange Public Library is no exception. We are thrilled to share our plans to create a larger, more accessible 21st Century library — an essential gathering place for the educational, informational and cultural needs of the community.
More than a decade in the making, this project includes the restoration of the original 1896 Connett Library building, the renovation of the existing 1968 library and the construction of a link between the two buildings that will become the new, fully accessible, main entrance.
To prepare for this moment, the Library Board, staff and Village administration have been listening to the diverse voices of South Orange in focus groups, interviews and surveys. Here’s what we have learned: people love our library because they love our staff and programming, but the building is too small, too hard to get around, and lacks spaces for collaborative work, quiet study and creative endeavors. Based on your input, our library needs a much larger and more flexible children’s room; private study spaces; small meeting rooms; better access for people of all ages and abilities; more restrooms; a place to eat; and a larger central meeting room with a separate entrance for after-hours gatherings.
With nearly twice the usable space as the current library, our new campus will not only meet our immediate needs, but because it will be designed for maximum flexibility will also enable us to meet future needs. The South Orange Public Library will be our community’s central gateway, whether physical or virtual, for information, the exchange of ideas and the celebration of literacy and culture for generations to come.