State Supports Upgrades At Local Public Libraries

George Winner

March 05, 2008

Elmira, N.Y.--State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C-I, Elmira) announced today that several public libraries in Chemung and Steuben counties have been awarded state construction grants.

Winner said that the grants are being funded by the Legislature through a $14-million appropriation for public library construction included in the 2007-08 state budget.

"A public library is a vital community resource," said Winner. "We’re hopeful that these grants will help local libraries better afford and address their renovation needs."

According to the New York State Library, which administers the grants, a recent survey revealed that public library construction and renovation needs statewide total $2.1 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users with disabilities, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, do not have sufficient space to house the library's collection, and lack sufficient space for public access computers.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.

Winner announced the following grants to local libraries in Chemung and Steuben counties:

> Southern Tier Library System in Painted Post, $82,074 for the installation of a cooling system that incorporates the library’s computer server room, and the purchase and installation of a new computer server system, including hardware and software;

> Chemung County Library District-Big Flats, $17,750 for the construction of a larger, ADA-compliant bathroom including the installation of an automatic door for accessibility;

> Chemung County Library District-Horseheads, $34,450 for the replacement of its roof and HVAC system;

> Chemung County Library District-Steele Memorial, $22,500 for the replacement of six exterior doors, all interior door handles and locksets to make them ADA-compliant; and

> Addison Public Library, $7,000 for the renovation of its children's room including insulating the walls and windows, new wiring, and the construction of new shelving.