FILE - School library

(The Center Square) – New Jersey is allocating nearly $37.2 million in funding for 36 library projects in 13 counties across the state.

The money is from the Library Construction Bond Act (LCBA), which New Jersey voters approved in 2017. The LCBA authorized $125 million in state bonds for library projects, including technology updates and building improvements.

“New Jersey’s public libraries are constantly evolving to serve a wider range of community needs,” Merodie Hancock, president of the Thomas Edison State University, said in a statement. “From jobs and workforce development to digital literacy and community building, they assure that all New Jerseyans have access to key tools of the 21st century.”

State lawmakers must approve the list, and in a news release, Gov. Phil Murphy indicated he will sign off on it once they do. Under the first round of funding, announced in January 2020, the state allocated $87.5 million.

“The new and refurbished buildings that are being supported through the Bond Act will benefit New Jerseyans for years to come with safe, healthy spaces and up-to-date technology that are available to all,” New Jersey State Librarian Jennifer Nelson said in an announcement. “When we improve our libraries, we improve our communities and the lives of residents.”

The LCBA funding covers half of a library project’s costs, and local governments are responsible for contributing the remaining money.