The New York State Education Department announced on Thursday that $34 million was awarded to 251 public libraries to support construction and renovation projects across the state, and several local library have been awarded funds for their projects.
The funds help libraries construct new buildings, create additions, update electrical wiring and computer technology, improve broadband infrastructure, meet energy efficiency standards, renovate facilities to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities and provide meeting spaces to accommodate community needs.
Local libraries impacted include:
• Lockport Public Library which received $136,408 to upgrade its elevator and renovate three restrooms.
• Barker Public Library received $64,072 for an application to construct a children's area in the new library building, but with the library having burned down earlier this year, Library Director Lisa Thompson said they might use the money for something else with the new building.
• Wilson Community Library received $231,514 to renovate its second floor.
“When we invest in public libraries, we invest in our communities,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “This state aid will help over 250 libraries make much-needed renovations or upgrades so they can best serve the children, families and adults who visit every day.”
Project activities eligible for awards include financing construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings, and the renovation or rehabilitation of existing space. Broadband infrastructure projects are also eligible. Renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities is a high priority. Priority is also given to projects that will extend library services to people residing in geographically isolated and economically disadvantaged communities.
The state funds are from $34 million in capital funds for State Aid for Library Construction provided in the 2018-19 state budget.
In the 2019-20 state budget, $34 million was provided for projects that will be announced in summer 2020. The deadline for submitting an application to the New York State Library is Oct. 31.