412 Rivervale Road River Vale, NJ 07675 201-391-2323

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Community Room Redesign and Expansion

Public Libraries of Today

Dynamic public libraries across the country are incorporating new philosophies, new technologies and new spaces to meet the needs of their communities. The 21st Century public library is one of multiple destinations—a place for patrons to experience the world of information in a variety of new ways, as well as a location where the local community can congregate and interact in a multi-functional space.

The Evolving River Vale Public Library
Conceptual Design for Community Room Expansion
Conceptual Design for
Community Room Expansion

Built in 1983, the library began its evolution into a 21st Century Library with an interior renovation completed in 2010. The only area of the building not renovated was the Community Room.  The public’s increased use of the library has made it clear that we must continue our evolution, as many public libraries have done, by providing a more flexible setting that allows the concurrent use of the building by multiple user groups. This can be accomplished by redesigning and expanding the library’s Community Room.

Expanding to Meet the Needs of the Community

Space for Programming and Technology Training

The River Vale Public Library is a popular destination for the local community. In 2017, the library hosted over 9,600 people attending library and community sponsored programs, an increase of 18% over 2016.  Unfortunately the present 896 sq. ft. Community Room cannot always accommodate everyone who would like to attend our programs.

As we move into the world of digital information an essential service of public libraries today is technology training so that residents, regardless of age, can access information for their educational and recreational needs. It is beneficial for the library to have space for group technology training.

Facilitating Student Education

The library regularly hosts upwards of 70 middle school students at the end of every school day!  Currently, we do not have the space to accommodate the increasing number of students and provide them with areas for quiet study and group projects.  The size of the after-school population limits programming opportunities for younger students as well, and presents a challenge to everyone who wishes to use the library in the afternoon.

Master Plan for a Revitalized Community Space!

The Board of Trustees, working with the Library Director and architectural firm, Environetics of Englewood Cliffs, has refined the Master Plan that was first presented to the township in 2013. The plan envisions a redesign of the current footprint of the Library's Community Room to coordinate with construction of a 1,203 sq. ft. addition.

• This addition, which doubles the size of our community space, prevents overcrowding of the building while expanding and enhancing patron programming for all age groups.
• The revised plan now includes a much-needed ADA compliant Family Restroom.
• Replacement of rotting roofing shingles on the building's exterior is included in the project along with a new side walkway and completion of the rear patio.
• An updated schematic design cost estimate was prepared in August 2017 and includes the potential of an escalation in costs for the project.

An Improved Design

An Improved Design facilitates concurrent use of the space for increased room availability and functionality. A movable wall divider allows the room to function as one large or two smaller rooms allowing increased seating capacity and public use of the facility

The Library Cafe - a place to get together
Conceptual Design for Library Cafe
Conceptual Design for
Library Cafe area

The new design features vending machines so the public can enjoy food and beverages when visiting the library. This feature will be especially attractive to middle school students who frequent the building after school as well as those wishing to socialize while in the building.

Technology for entertainment and educational programming

The new space will accommodate advanced audio-visual equipment and a mobile technology center for group use and instruction. This will prove essential for educational, recreational, and technology training for our residents.

Exhibition Space

An area is specifically designed for school and local art exhibitions.

Repairs to Building Exterior & A Park-Like Setting
Conceptual Design for Library Outdoor Beautification
Conceptual Design for
completion of rear patio

During the expansion the library will undertake the sorely needed replacement of the building's shingles. Completion of the rear patio will allow for library and community functions to take place in what will be  a most picturesque setting! 

Community Room Expansion Plan
Community Room
Expansion Plan

Project Costs 

With the passage of the NJ Library Construction Bond Act in 2017, the Township of River Vale now has the opportunity to apply for matching funds from the state for the redesign and expansion of the library's Community Room, to undertake repairs to the building and improvements to the library's grounds. We project that application for matching funds will be available in the spring of 2019.

We have updated our estimates to include all possible contingencies and await the specifics of the application process from the State Librarian. As this is a matching grant, the township must commit to funding 50% of the project. The library has reserved $300,000 in capital funds for the project.


Estimated Project Cost: $1,260,000
50% Grant Funds under LCB: $630,000
Library Capital Savings: $300,000
Incremental Township Funding: $330,000

For additional information, please contact:
Ann McCarthy - Library Director
Mccarthy@rivervale.bccls.org
201-391-2323
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