Local Libraries Receive State Grants

George Winner

March 03, 2008

Albany, N.Y., March 3–State Senator George Winner (R-C-I, Elmira), Assemblyman Jim Bacalles (R-C-I, Corning) and Assemblyman Tom O'Mara (R-C, Horseheads) announced today that public libraries in Chemung, Steuben and Yates counties have been awarded state construction grants.

The state lawmakers said that the grants are being funded through a $14-million Public Library Construction and Renovation grant program included in the 2008-09 state budget.

In a joint statement, Bacalles, O'Mara and Winner said, “A public library is a vital community resource during these tough economic times, and so it's important for this state funding program to move forward.  We’re hopeful these grants will help local libraries better serve their communities and continue to address improvements in the face of difficult fiscal challenges.”

According to the New York State Library, which administers the grants, a recent survey revealed that public library construction and renovation needs statewide total $2.2 billion. More than 40% of the over 1,000 public library buildings across New York are over 60 years old. Another 30% 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users with disabilities, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, do not have sufficient space to house the library's collection, and lack sufficient space for public access computers.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 construction grants help local libraries and library systems make renovations and upgrades, update electrical wiring to accommodate computer technology, renovate facilities to provide wheelchair accessible entrances and become fully accessible to persons with disabilities, and provide community meeting rooms.

The lawmakers announced that the following grants are being awarded to public libraries in Chemung, Steuben, and Yates counties:

> Dormann Library (Bath, Steuben County), $96,760 for utility improvements and parking lot expansion;

> Prattsburgh Free Library (Steuben County), $3,272 for accessibility improvements and interior renovations;

> Southeast Steuben County Library (Corning), $7,298 for energy efficiency improvements;

> Big Flats Library (Chemung County), $41,479 for the installation of ADA-compliant front entryway doors and energy-efficient replacement windows;

> Steele Memorial Library (Elmira, Chemung County), $32,500 for utility improvements and parking lot renovations;

> West Elmira Library (Chemung County), $39,527 for the installation of an ADA-compliant rear entryway door and energy-efficient replacement windows; and

> Penn Yan Public Library (Yates County), $86,856 for accessibility improvements and interior renovations to create a new program room.