Library receives $1.2 grant funding for Building Community Project

The New Jersey State Library, an affiliate of Thomas Edison State University, has awarded the Atlantic City Free Public Library (ACFPL) and other organizations in the state grant funding as part of its Community Center Digital Connect Program – a community resilience project that will address disparities in access to education, employment, and health services by investing in capital improvements at community facilities.

The ACFPL will receive $1.283 million in grant funding for its Building Community Project, which will include:
• Redesigning and renovating the Main Library’s second-floor meeting room, including the kitchen, to increase functionality and provide a flexible space for educational, workforce and health programs. The installation of updated technology will support streaming services and virtual programs.
• Adding two private office pods equipped with computers to be used for telehealth and health monitoring, plus education and work activities, to the Main Library’s first-floor.
• Improving access to the second-floor meeting room by modernizing the Main Library’s 38-year-old elevator to ensure continued compliance with ADA requirements for people with disabilities. Renovations will include replacement of the main car operating station along with electrical and mechanical components.
• Expanding high-speed broadband access to public computers and training areas throughout the Main Library.

Also, the ACFPL will partner with AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center to offer wellness, healthy eating, and health literacy programs; health screenings; and teen talk and parental support sessions in the renovated meeting room. The library’s community partners will have access to the office pods to connect residents with vital resources and services.

The ACFPL’s Building Community Project will begin this spring with health programs being offered, while the construction portion of the project is expected to start later this year.

“I am thrilled to be part of a project that not only enhances our physical space but also expands our capacity to serve the community through innovative programs and resources,” ACFPL Assistant Director Melissa McGeary said. “This project will amplify the library’s impact in the community. By modernizing the library’s technology infrastructure and providing comprehensive support for education, wellness, and workforce development initiatives, we will be better situated to empower library patrons in all aspects of their lives.”

The New Jersey State Library’s Community Center Digital Connect Program is funded by the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF), established by Section 604 of the Social Security Act, as added by Section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The federal Capital Projects Fund was designed to address critical needs that emerged during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and provides crucial funding for enhancing the quality of life, economic vitality, and resilience of communities across the United States.

On March 15, 2024, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the State of New Jersey has been approved for a total of nearly $180 million through the U.S. Treasury’s Capital Project Fund to support a wide range of infrastructure projects that promote public health and safety, digital connectivity, and equitable access to critical services. More than $34 million of these funds have been approved for the State Library’s Community Center Digital Connect program, which will enable the construction or improvement of buildings that directly support employment, education, and health monitoring.

“The State Library’s Community Center Digital Connect Program is a prime example of the strategic investments we are making with federal pandemic funds to address key challenges in building more resilient communities,” Gov. Murphy said. “This critical funding will help alleviate the disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and empower our communities through connectivity to ultimately improve literacy and education, boost employment, and protect public health across our state.”

“We are excited to work with the selected libraries, community and health centers to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals and communities across the state,” said Jen Nelson, State Librarian, New Jersey State Library. “Our mission is to empower residents by providing community-based access to high-quality modern infrastructure, including broadband, which is essential for accessing critical services.”

Communities with critical need were preselected, with eligibility determined by the community’s score on a Census-derived index. Eligible applicants participated in a competitive grant process, administered by the New Jersey State Library. The distribution of funding covers all corners of the state, from Phillipsburg in Warren County, to Atlantic City in Atlantic County.

For more information about the Community Center Digital Connect program and to view the full list of awarded projects, visit
This project is being supported, in whole or part, by federal award number CPFFNO185 awarded to the State of New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
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About the New Jersey State Library
The New Jersey State Library (NJSL), an affiliate of Thomas Edison State University (TESU), connects people with information and resources through its service to libraries, state government, TESU staff and students, and NJ residents, including those with special needs. NJSL provides support for public, school, academic, and special libraries, and continues to promote services for learners of all ages, including key areas of continuing need such as digital literacy, business outreach, workforce development, summer reading programs, and services for the visually and physically impaired, among others. For more information, visit