(Spring Valley, NY) – Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) and Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) announced on Monday that more than a half a million dollars in state funding have been allocated by the Public Library System to go to several Rockland County libraries for needed construction projects. Carlucci and Jaffee voted in support of the 2018-2019 State budget, which allocated $34 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects.
The lawmakers made the announcement at the Finkelstein Memorial Library in Spring Valley, who received $432,398 in State aid for HVAC replacement, security upgrades, and a generator. Lawmakers said the Nyack Library received $7,601 for the expansion of a circulation area, the Pearl River Public Library received $4,911 for a lighting upgrade, the Valley Cottage Free Library received $13,440 for HVAC upgrades and a new door, and the West Nyack Free Library received $72,671 for a retaining wall replacement and door installations.
"It is necessary that we support our public libraries," said Senator David Carlucci. Libraries benefit adults, children, English-language learners and those with disabilities. Further, in some communities, libraries may serve as a child's only access to a computer with internet. I am proud to have supported $34 million in aid for our public libraries in this year's State budget. The funding will go a long way to making necessary upgrades to Rockland's libraries and those across the state."
“Public libraries are where we go to find much more than books. They are community gathering places, cultural hubs, learning, and technology centers. Our public libraries serve everyone,” said Assemblywoman Jaffee. “The funding New York State provides is critical because this funding ensures that our libraries deliver services equitably to our diverse communities. This $34 million investment reaffirms the responsibility we have as a state in maintaining libraries in every community, even if these communities may not always be our own.”
“The Nyack Library gratefully acknowledges the continued funding support and the state level advocacy that Assemblywoman Jaffee offers to our community. This important construction aid grant made it possible for Nyack Library to renovate the work area for our busiest and most visited department enabling our wonderful staff to better serve our public,” said Angela Strong, Director, Nyack Library. “Libraries are busy and vital public service centers for people to access print and digital materials, resources, programs and learning services. We invite everyone to visit Nyack Library to see for themselves the benefits of state funding for library construction.”
The Pearl River Public Library is grateful and excited to embark on the road towards energy efficiency and enhanced green building practices through the monies received for our LED lighting upgrade,” Eugenia Schatoff, Director, Pearl River Public Library. “We look forward to providing our community with the high-quality programs and services they have come to expect while doing our part to be more environmentally and fiscally responsible.”
New York’s public libraries are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading. A recent survey showed a documented need for public library construction and renovation projects totaling more than $1.7 billion. More than 52% of the over 1,000 public library buildings in communities across New York are over 60 years old. Another 31% are more than three decades old. Many of New York’s local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, are energy inefficient, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring. Many do not have sufficient space to house the library’s expanding collection, address the need for adequate meeting room, or provide for public access computers.
Project activities and expenditures eligible for funding from the State Aid for Library Construction Program include financing construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings, and the renovation and/or rehabilitation of existing space. Projects may include roof replacement, purchase, and installation of alternative energy resources, new HVAC systems, windows, doors, lighting systems, electrical upgrades, and construction of new or replacement of old walkways and parking lots. Broadband infrastructure projects are also eligible. New furniture, shelving, and equipment, including computer equipment, may be purchased for new or newly reconfigured or renovated space. Renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities are a high priority.