By Margie Plunkett

The Manalapan library’s refurbishment wish list could soon take shape if the newly kicked-off fundraising effort continues at the current pace: The drive has received more than $26,000 in donations and pledges, according to organizers.
“We’re very fortunate to have this library. We want to make it more comfortable, inviting for people to come,” said Joan Bernstein, who is heading coordination and fundraising for the volunteer committee behind the project for the J. Turner Moore Memorial Library.
Committee members Mary Thornton of MET Interiors and Sophy Isaac are volunteering design services.
The committee detailed refurbishments with a total price tag of an estimated $75,000 in a Feb. 9 letter asking residents for contributions to fund the project.
“This will be a work in progress,” Bernstein said. “We’re hoping to start this summer with the ceiling, electric and lights and maybe some furniture.”
The drop ceiling that’s been in the library since it was built in 1981 would be replaced with new raised panel tiles and recessed lighting would replace the current fluorescents at a cost of about $35,000. The refurbishment list also includes replacing paneling on the library’s round wall — a reminder that the library was built around a 400,000 gallon municipal water tank — with Sheetrock at an estimated $5,000. The carpet would be replaced, either with vinyl hardwood or new carpeting for about $15,000. Painting would cost $10,000 and replacing or reupholstering furniture, $10,000.
In addition to providing books and other material for members to check out, the library hosts presentations, group meetings including the book club, a reading hour for children and computer classes. One of the latest events, for instance, a February lecture by Dr. Christos Papatheodorou on the Olympics, drew about 60 people to the small facility, Thornton said.
Because Manalapan has its own library, residents don’t pay the Palm Beach County Library Tax, which the library committee estimated would be $550 a year for each $1 million of assessed home value — or a total $500,000 for the whole town, the letter to residents says. Library members pay annual dues of $25 for residents and $35 for nonresidents.
The library welcomes all donations and will give special recognition to those who donate $2,000 or more at the benefactor level or $5,000 or more at the Friends of the Library level, Bernstein said. The committee asks that contributors make checks to the Town of Manalapan, but also note on the check it’s for Library Refurbishment.
About $14,800 has been collected for the refurbishment fund, Finance Director Linda Stumpf told Manalapan commissioners at their Feb. 23 meeting. The balance of pledges hasn’t yet been received. “The response from the community is extremely positive,” Bernstein’s husband, Commissioner William Bernstein, said at the meeting.
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