State Senator James L. Seward and Assemblyman Peter Lopez today announced that the Community Library of Cobleskill has been awarded a state public library construction grant of $46,373to assist with its renovation project. The money is separate from special grants recently announced by Seward.
"The program enacted by the legislature offers our public libraries the opportunity to renovate and upgrade their facilities to meet the code and technological changes of the new century," Seward said. "It is important to support our public libraries because they are centers of our communities."
"I am pleased to join Senator Seward in supporting our public libraries," said Assemblyman Pete Lopez. "Public investment is needed to ensure that they remain a strong part of our communities. All of us benefit from the many services that libraries provide."
The $46,373 will help pay for the purchase and installation of shelving in newly renovated space on the library's first and second floors; installation of new lighting fixtures throughout the library; and a new circulation desk for the reconstructed space.The grants flow from a special allocation of $14 million in capital funds for public library construction provided by the state legislature in the 2007-2008 state budget.
A recent survey showed a documented need for public library construction and renovation projects totaling $2.1 billion. More than 40 percent of the over 1,000 public library buildings in communities across New York are more than 60 years old. Another 30 percent are more than three decades old. Many of New York’s local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, do not have sufficient space to house the library's collection, and lack sufficient space for public access computers.
The state grants help local libraries and library systems build new libraries or additions, update electrical wiring to accommodate computer technology, meet standards of energy efficiency, renovate facilities to provide wheelchair accessible entrances and lavatories to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities, and provide meeting rooms to accommodate community needs.
Annual state funding for public library construction is $800,000. The announced grants are in addition to regular budget support.