East Orange, NJ (June 28, 2023): The East Orange Public Library (EOPL) will start construction this month as the City of East Orange embarks on a $1.7 million library renovation project, the first of its kind since the library opened more than 75 years ago. The main library is located at 21 S. Arlington Avenue in East Orange.
The project, designed by gk+a Architects, P.C., was funded through a $500,000 state grant from the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act with matching funds from the City of East Orange. The renovation includes new flooring and ceilings, remodeling the first and second floors, and increasing the size of the East Orange Room, a community meeting room and event space. It also includes a major facelift to the main lobby, as well as “replacing infrastructure that dates back to the 1950s,” officials said.
According to new Library Director JP Porcaro, plans to keep the library open were a must during construction, which is expected to take up to one year to complete.
“We know how valuable a resource our library is to the community and we want to make sure there are no gaps for those seeking learning and enrichment, especially during the summer months,” said Porcaro.
Mayor Ted R. Green and Council Chair Christopher Awe stopped by the library recently to check on the project’s progress.
“Building upon our extensive book collection, we have been able to expand our services significantly over the years to provide cultural and enrichment programs for all ages. Whenever the doors of our library are open, so is the potential for opening our minds to other people, places and things that help us learn and grow,” said Mayor Green. “The East Orange Public Library is a staple in our city, and after decades of public use, there is an urgent need to upgrade this facility and bring it up to par with our surrounding cities.”
The project will be completed in two six-month phases and the library is projected to close for only one single week in December while materials and collections are put back in place, Porcaro said.
Online content will be available as usual and expanded summer hours will be added to provide the community with extra access to library throughout the project. Additional updates and advisories will be issued during the renovations, and all projections about the duration of the construction and temporary services are subject to change, due to weather and unforeseeable circumstances.
ABOUT THE EAST ORANGE PUBLIC LIBRARY
The East Orange Public Library helps people of all ages meet their informational, educational, and recreational needs by acquiring, organizing, and assisting in the use of print and non-print resources. Today, library patrons in East Orange can use their library six days a week, borrowing books, audiobooks, e-books, and DVDs; accessing the Internet through the use of public computers on-site; and enjoying a variety of classes and cultural programs. The library also houses a collection of more than 200,000 items, free internet access, homework help, reference assistance, and resources for job seekers.