Senator Helming Announces Signing of Bill Expanding Funding Opportunities for Small and Rural Libraries

Senator Pam Helming announced that legislation she co-sponsored (S.5753) to expand funding opportunities for small and rural libraries under the state’s Library Construction Aid Program has been signed into law.

New York’s Public Library Construction Aid Program provides grants to libraries in two different ways: grants where New York State covers 90% of construction project costs and local governments provide 10%, and grants where New York State covers 75% of construction project costs and local governments provide 25%.

The 90/10 grants are especially beneficial to small and rural libraries because of the smaller tax bases of these local governments. Previously, state law reserved 10% of the program’s funding for 90/10 grants. This new law increases that allocation to 50%.

Senator Pam Helming said, “Libraries provide essential services to people of every age and are part of the heart and soul of our communities. With this new law I was proud to help champion, our small rural libraries will have greater access to state funds to support capital and infrastructure projects that help to improve and expand services for patrons and the local community.”

Ron Kirsop, Executive Director of the Pioneer Library System said, “Every year Construction Aid funding is used to support library infrastructure in our small and rural communities. Without this investment by the state, these educational institutions would have a difficult time affording renovations, expansions, and upgrades to their facilities. Thank you so much to Senator Helming and the rest of the New York State Senate for continuously supporting this program.” 

Sarah Glogowski, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Library System said, “Finger Lakes Library System thanks Senator Helming for co-sponsoring this importation legislation, as well as being a supporter and advocate for libraries in our region. Over half of New York’s libraries are 60 years or older and many of our small and rural libraries need renovations or physical infrastructure changes to ensure they are accessible and sustainable for all library patrons. This law provides our system with the flexibility to help more of our small libraries make these vital changes and not have to cut collection and programming funds from their budgets. Our libraries welcome this important legislation to help make them the community centers they deserve to be in our communities.”