New township library is vital for the whole community


As many residents of West Milford have noticed near the center of town, the structure starting to take shape behind town hall is actually our new library. Set to be finished in October later this year, this new library will be roughly 17,000 square feet in comparison to the current building, which is only 7,000 square feet. The extra space will allow for larger and less cramped reading rooms, activity centers for kids, and more multimedia resources for everyone. The $4.85-million construction project is being run by Unimak, LLC of Garfield based on designs created by Arcari-Iovino Architects of Little Ferry. The township is also going to take over the old library at the corner of Ridge and Union Valley once the new library is open.
What is concerning to me, as an avid reader that is, is that many residents of the town seem to be confused as to why this new public space will not be a benefit, but actually an unwise investment by the town. They see a new building as unnecessary as the modern world evolves and becomes more technological. They could not be more wrong, for the rise of the internet and technology only calls for multimedia specialists and librarians to become more involved with categorizing information and cumulating research in the modern era.
While it may seem that we have lost lots of places to go around here, many people of all ages forget that while the movie theatre closed years ago, the library has a huge array of movies in their collection. Did your Wi-Fi stop working? Use one of the free computers at your disposal. Can’t find something to do over the summer? Sign up for one of the many programs offered at the library, many of which don’t involve joining a book club if that’s not your thing! The library offers free programs that range from learning a new language, to poetry contests, to exchanging seed packets for gardeners.
The old library is as small as a shoebox. And while there are many new books in constant circulation, a building can only store so many. Many books are not even on display and are in storage, as there is simply not enough shelf space. The new library will provide plenty of space to display our library’s vast and continuously growing collection.
As a volunteer with a librarian in the children’s department, I know that space is crucial. Trying to do reading time on the small open floor space of the children’s section is tough with boisterous kids. More space means more room for kids to bounce around and have fun while reading together.
This new library will give the dedicated librarians the ability to expand their programs and develop a wonderful library program. The center of town will proudly have a beautiful new building and a place to have residents of our area meet and learn together. The citizens of West Milford will hopefully begin to look forward to the launch of the new building this fall.