Ocean County Commissioners joined with officials from Stafford Township, the state of New Jersey and the Ocean County Library, to celebrate the start of construction on a new state of the art library branch there.

A host of representatives from various county, local and state agencies were at the ground breaking for the 19,700 square foot branch located at 179 South Main Street, here.

The new branch will be located next to the Ocean County Southern Service Center which houses a number of Ocean County services including a main nutrition site for seniors, the Ocean County Clerk's Office, Office of Senior Services, Department of Human Services and Veterans Service Bureau.

The new building will provide educational resources and community spaces, state of the art technologies, public computers and shelving for 40 to 50 percent more books and materials. The new branch also includes larger areas for children's programs, an intergenerational space for senior citizens to socialize and enjoy library services, a new teen area, study rooms, maker space for STEAM educational activities, and a sensory space to provide a welcoming environment for people with autism, Alzheimer's or other sensory processing needs.

The Ocean County Library was selected to receive a $4.8 million grant in the second round of funding for the Library Construction Bond Act which allocates $37 million to 36 library projects from 13 counties across New Jersey.

The Ocean County Board of Commissioners on April 5 awarded a contract to Newport Construction Management Corp, Pennsauken, to construct the new branch. The contract cost of $9,488,700 is offset by the $4.8 million grant from the New Jersey State Library Construction Bond. The project is scheduled to be completed in September 2024.