After receiving a large amount of positive feedback from library users for the addition of a café, the South Brunswick Public Library is actively seeking a vendor for a lease agreement.
The SBPL, which has been working to add a café for the past few years, did not receive any bids earlier this month on the proposal.
"We're working on a plan to put it out to bid again and once it’s ready we'll send it out," said Library Director Chris Carbone. "We're looking to add a service for patrons to come to the library and have some extra options. More people are coming into the library and spending a lot of time here.
“People already bring in coffee and snacks so we'd like to have something like that available to increase convenience for them. We got a lot of feedback from people who were interested in having that."
The addition of the café will not involve spending any taxpayer money. The vendor would rent the space and assume the costs of operating it, with the possibility of generating a small revenue stream for the SBPL, Carbone said.
The café would be located near the front entrance of the SBPL with an approximately 400-square foot seating area. The library recently completed expansion plans that began in 2005 with the state supporting a capital plan, along with help from the Library Foundation and Friends of the Library.
The Library Board of Trustees worked for the last several years to raise funding for the completion of the expansion project and contributed about $100,000. The Library Foundation raised an additional $70,000 and another $19,000 came from the Community Development Block Grant program. The balance of the funding was available out of remaining dollars reserved from a 2006 Capital Ordinance for library improvements.
The renovations included completing work to the unfinished lower level to allow staff workspace to be moved into that area, which then provided for more public space on the main level. A new program and craft room was divided into two smaller meeting rooms, a quiet study lounge was established and five single-pane windows were replaced to improve energy efficiency.
The SBPL is now looking to complete one of the final goals of the renovation by adding food and drink options. Carbone said he hopes to have the bid process for the café completed during the fall.
"As we become more of a destination where people come for social activities, our research showed that people were staying here for awhile when they come in, so we think it's a good idea to add an option for refreshments," he said.
Follow Patch on Facebook.