It's time to get out your library cards and if you don't have one, now is the time.

The Ocean County Board of Commissioners has announced that an application submitted by the Ocean County Library to secure $4.8-million in grant funds to open up a new branch has been approved and it'll be built in Stafford Township.

This grant funding to the OCL comes in the second round of funding for the Library Construction Bond Act, allocating $37-million overall to 36 library projects going on across the state -- so, $4.8-million of that is going to building a new OCL branch.

Voters approved grant funding for the Library Construction Bond Act in 2017.

“Our county library staff in concert with the administration worked tirelessly to make certain our funding application would gain the state support needed to be approved,” said Ocean County Commissioner Joe Vicari,  liaison to the Ocean County Library system, said in a statement. “We join with the Library staff and Library Commission in expressing our appreciation to the state Legislature and the Governor in signing the legislation that will provide this grant. This will allow us to construct a new state-of-the-art library facility in Stafford Township providing our residents with a larger facility that supports the area’s population growth."

The new branch in Stafford Township will be constructed on Route 9 at the Ocean County Southern Service Center location which means parking will be reconfigured over time and work will be done to extend a water main and drainage to the site.

When it's done, the new branch will be a 19,700 square foot stand-alone building.

It's a big step and exciting news for the Ocean County Library team.

“We all look forward to the day when we break ground on this new building,” Henry Mancini, Library Commissioner, said in a statement. “This project has been a priority on our facilities plan for a number of years. This grant approval is the result of a cooperative effort – government agencies and individuals coming together to make this happen.”

“This money will help our continuing efforts to make certain the very best library programs and services are available to our residents,” Ruthanne Scaturro, Chairwoman of the Ocean County Library Commission, said in a statement.

“This new building will be located at the nexus of state roads serving as coastal evacuation routes where it will serve as the community anchor and be built with a full-building generator to provide resiliency in times of natural disasters and emergencies,” Ocean County Library Director Susan Quinn, said in a statement.

It's also a big announcement for the township itself.

“This is great news for all residents of Stafford Township. The library is a tremendous resource that is available to everyone," Stafford Mayor Gregory Myhre said in a statement. "The new and expanded library will be a first-class facility for our first-class community. We are proud to be integrated within the great Ocean County library system and excited to be a part of this project.”

Ocean County Commissioners said that the County and Stafford Township will share in the cost of the new facility that'll run a bill of about $9.6 million.

While the goal is to get construction going this year, dates for completed steps and the ultimate unveiling have not yet been determined.

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