The State Education Department awarded $34 million to 223 public libraries and systems statewide to support construction and renovation projects, Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced Tuesday. Seven local libraries were among them.
The funds help libraries construct new buildings, create additions, update electrical wiring and computer technology, improve broadband infrastructure, meet energy-efficiency standards and renovate facilities to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities and create meeting spaces to accommodate community needs, a media release from the Education Department said.
The following local libraries will receive funding:
Bovina Public Library — $74,625;
Fairview Public Library, Margaretville — $60,333;
Sidney Memorial Public Library — $19,599;
Edmeston Free Library — $246,818.00;
Huntington Memorial Library, Oneonta, $19,518;
Kinney Memorial Library, Hartwick, $6,517;00;
Richfield Springs Public Library, $23,633.
“Libraries play an integral role in strengthening and connecting our communities by providing access to beneficial, insightful, and accurate information,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. said. “Financial support of these important institutions improves the overall quality of life for all New Yorkers who use our library facilities. As an essential resource, these infrastructure investments will vastly expand our ability to support underserved populations and those living in geographically isolated communities through increased digital access, enhanced accessibility services and other vital resources.”
“Libraries have a profound impact on the lives of their patrons by empowering them to fully participate in society in various ways, whether it is to pursue employment, self-education, accessing technology or making social connections,” Rosa said. “These funds will not only help to improve infrastructure but will also ensure that critical resources, materials, and services continue to be available to meet the needs of individuals and communities throughout our state to help them thrive.”
According to the release, project activities eligible for awards include financing broadband infrastructure, construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings and the renovation or rehabilitation of existing space. The projects can include roof replacement; the purchase and installation of alternative energy sources, HVAC systems, windows, doors, and lighting systems; electrical upgrades; and construction of new or replacement walkways, parking lots, standby generators, and EV charging stations. In addition, new furniture, shelving, and equipment, including computer equipment, can be purchased for new or newly renovated spaces.
Priority is also given to renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities, and projects to extend library services to people residing in geographically isolated and economically disadvantaged and distressed communities, the release said.