Four county libraries will get interior renovations

Work will be paid for with $1 million in state funding

Thanks to $1 million in state funds, the upper floor of the Cinnaminson library will get a complete redesign. Opened in 1966, it was the first branch in the Burlington County Library System.

Students growing up in Palmyra, Riverton and Cinnaminson have utilized the Riverton Public Library for a century at its former Victorian home on Main Street.

A new option came in 1966, when the Cinnaminson Public Library opened its doors.

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It was brand new, open and airy, with a low-sloped roof and large floor-to-ceiling windows.

The once modern building of the 1960s has aged, but now the upper floor will get a complete redesign.

Riverton is one of four county libraries that will undergo facilities upgrades with $1 million in state funding secured by State Sen. Troy Singleton. The others are the Evesham, Pemberton  Community and Westampton libraries.

Earlier this month, the Burlington County Library Commission voted to accept the state funds and the county library system plans to use them to redesign some of the interior spaces in each of its four buildings to improve customer experiences, county spokesperson David Levinsky said. The funding was included in the 2023 New Jersey state budget at Singleton’s behest; the branches had failed to get  funding from the state’s Library Construction Bond Act.

“The Burlington County Library Commission just accepted the state funding and it’s still very early in the planning process, so at this time, we’re not able to share details about the interior redesigns for these libraries,” Levinsky noted. 

“We hope to be able to share more details later this year,” he added. “I can tell you that library officials anticipate these will be multiyear projects and their goal is to begin phasing in some design concepts in 2023.”

“Libraries are more than just a place to find books,” said Singleton, who co-sponsored the Library Construction Bond Act. “They are pillars of our communities that serve as repositories of knowledge and as locations where residents can remain connected in the digital age.

“Just as our libraries must evolve to meet the needs of our communities, it is incumbent on us to invest in them to ensure they have the resources needed to make those changes,” he added.

“(The) Burlington County Library System is over 100 years old, making it the first and oldest county library system in New Jersey, and we are deeply appreciative of this funding to help make some new improvements to our main library and these three library branches,” said county Commissioner Deputy Director Tom Pullion, liaison to the system.

“Our board would especially like to thank Sen. Singleton for advocating for these libraries and the importance of this investment,” he continued. “This funding will not only help us improve these library facilities, it is also direct tax relief, since the entire expense of these projects will not need to be borne by the county and local taxpayers.”

The Westampton library was constructed in 1971 after originally existing in various buildings in and around Mount Holly. The structure underwent two expansions and now has a 250-seat auditorium, café, larger information desk, story room and community space.

The Cinnaminson library opened in 1966 and was the library system’s first branch. It was  renovated in the late 1990s to convert the basement into a children’s room and to add a public meeting room.

The Evesham library was constructed in 1998 as part of the township municipal building on Tuckerton Road. This year’s work will be the first major investment in the library since then. 

The same is true of the Pemberton Community Library, on Broadway in Browns Mills. It opened in 2001 in a building constructed as a replacement for the previously separate Browns Mills and Pemberton Borough libraries.

“Working alongside our municipal partners, this funding will allow the library system to make significant improvements in accessibility, technology and customer experience to better serve residents,” said library commission Chairman Jonathan Chebra.

“This is truly an example of state, county and local resources being leveraged to enhance the quality of services offered to Burlington County residents.”

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