All posts by Marilynn Mullen

Cranbury Day Envisions the New Library

For Cranbury Day this year the Mike Ferrente, Library Foundation President, got volunteers to help map out and mark the site of the new library building.  Thanks to Jeffrey Butcher for assisting us in marking the plot points; Jerry Thorne in actually marking out the exterior walls; and Tyler and Chris Cenci for documenting the event with aerial photos from their drone flyover.  Here are the impressive results.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to ride the train and take a virtual tour of the new library.  The lucky winner of our Cranbury Day door prize was Jessica Diamond.   Congratulations Jessica!

Cranbury Library Foundation Receives Second FedEx Grant

For the second year in a row FedEx Corporation has awarded the Cranbury Public Library Foundation a grant – this one being for $3,500.  The funds will be used to equip and furnish the Teen and Creative Space in new library.  “We are looking to purchase a charging station, media table and stools, and a large screen monitor so teens can easily collaborate and work together on projects,” said Marilynn Mullen, library director.  “We were fortunate to receive a grant last year as well and used the funds to purchase several Chromebooks.  These have been very popular with the after school crowd in the library.”

In all, FedEx has donated a total of $6,750 toward the New Teen and Creative Space – a S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Initiative.  “The library has been using the Chromebooks for coding classes, engineering challenges, and maker projects,” commented Jay Oliver, the Technology Specialist at the library.  “I used some of the grant money to purchase a Raspberry Pi and will incorporate that equipment into our fall class schedule.”

Cranbury Township is looking to receive the remaining funding needed to construct a new library through the NJ Construction Bond Act passed last year by the voters.  Draft regulations for the Bond Act applications have been sent to the various state agencies involved.  The final form is slated to appear in the New Jersey Register this fall. “The Library Board has been anticipating what information and documents will be required in the application,” stated Library Board President, Kirstie Venanzi.  “We are confident that we have whatever materials the State Library will require.  Our project has been in the planning process for nearly 10 years and is shovel-ready.  We have over $2 million raised so we easily meet the requirements for a 1:1 match of grant funds.”

The ultimate goal of the FedEx grants is to equip the Teen and Creative Space in the new library.  FedEx Corporation offers charitable grants to programs that assist teens and young adults in learning skills that lead to greater access to jobs and opportunity, especially in the fields of technology and logistics. To be successful in today’s world it is imperative for teens to have a basic understanding of technology, including computer coding and engineering, as well as to develop collaborative skills.  Currently Cranbury has no space for teens to congregate and work together productively.  This initiative will give teens the equipment, training in its use, and the space to work together.  Learning these skills will open new opportunities to them and help them to succeed in future endeavors.

What is happening with the new library?

Last November New Jersey voters passed the NJ Library Construction Bond Act, making $125 million available in the future for public library construction.  “In the future” have become the key words.  According to the NJ State Library Website:

The State Library has submitted draft regulations to the appropriate [state] agencies for this program which we anticipate will appear in the New Jersey Register in late Summer 2018. After a public comment period of thirty days the regulations will be finalized and printed in final form in the New Jersey Register in Fall 2018. After the final printing of the regulations, guidelines and applications for the grant program will be sent to all New Jersey public libraries.*

If all goes as planned the township should be able to apply for the grant funds this fall.

Since last spring the library has been working with the township to prepare for the grant writing process.  The library has been anticipating what information and documents will be required in the application.  We are confident that we have whatever materials the State Library will require. Our project has been in the planning process for nearly 10 years and is shovel-ready.  We have over $2 million raised so we easily meet the requirements for a 1:1 match of grant funds.

But the application is just the beginning.  There will be a 3 month period when applications are accepted before any decisions are made by the state and grants are awarded.  If we are fortunate enough to receive a grant we will be ready to go out for bid on the project immediately.  Still we are looking at 2019 before construction can begin.  It’s been a long wait but I am extremely hopeful that 2019 will be the year of the new library!

Foundation Receives FedEx Grant

Thanks to a $3,250 grant from FedEx Corporation, teens in Cranbury and surrounding areas will have more opportunities to participate in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) classes and events at the Cranbury Public Library.  “Already we have put some of the funds to good use by purchasing five Chromebooks for teens to checkout and use in the library,” said Joanne Dera the library’s Technology Specialist.  “We also offer coding classes, engineering challenges, and maker projects.”

The ultimate goal of the grant is to help construct, equip and furnish the teen and creative spaces in new library and community center.  These spaces will give teens in Cranbury a place to use technology and work collaboratively on projects of their choice.  “For now our dream of a new library with separate areas for adults, children and teens has been put on hold until the Construction Bond Act funds become available,” said Marilynn Mullen, Library Director, “but we wanted to get the teens excited about the new space and the possibilities there.   Purchasing the Chromebooks now and offering more technology classes provide a small step toward our future.”

Last summer Foundation members learned that FedEx Corporation offers charitable grants to programs that assist teens and young adults in learning skills that lead to greater access to jobs and opportunity, especially in the fields of technology and logistics. Foundation members applied for the FedEx grant to help fund the new Teen and Creative space. – a S.T.E.A.M. Initiative.  To be successful in today’s world it is imperative for teens to have a basic understanding of technology, including computer coding and engineering, as well as to develop collaborative skills.  Currently Cranbury has no space for teens to congregate and work together productively.  This initiative will give teens the equipment, training in its use, and the space to work together.  Learning these skills will open new opportunities to them and help them to succeed in future endeavors.