Senator Sean Ryan And Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre Announce Signing Of Bill To Expand Funding Opportunities For Small Libraries



Legislation Amends Library Construction Aid Requirements To Remove Funding Barrier For Small And Rural Libraries

ALBANY – Today, November 17, 2021, New York State Senator Sean Ryan and Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre announced that their legislation (S.5753A/A.7060A) to expand funding opportunities for New York’s small and rural libraries has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. The bill was cosponsored by Senators John Mannion and Pam Helming.

New York’s Public Library Construction Aid Program provides grants to New York’s 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 appealing to economically distressed areas, small libraries, and rural areas, because these local governments usually have a difficult time funding their portion of the project. Existing state law reserved just 10% of the program’s funding for 90/10 grants. The new legislation, sponsored by Senator Ryan and Assemblymember Jean-Pierre – who are respectively Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Libraries committees – increases that allocation to 50%.

Senator Sean Ryan said, “When we invest in public libraries, we are making an investment in our communities. Every year, the Library Construction Aid Program provides funding for libraries across New York State to help pay for projects like constructing community meeting spaces, updating infrastructure, and providing full accessibility to patrons with disabilities. However, many of the communities that rely most on their public libraries previously lacked the tax base to take advantage of the program. The changes we have made will help those libraries secure critical funding that was previously unavailable to them and make transformative changes that will directly benefit their communities.”

Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre said, “Our public libraries are essential to helping our communities move forward, but unfortunately some of our smaller and more rural libraries have been left behind due in part to capital funding program requirements. By enacting this legislation, we are unlocking more financial resources for our libraries to make the critical capital investments needed to modernize their infrastructure and facilities so that the diverse needs of our communities both big and small can continue to be met.”

Senator John W. Mannion said, “We’re leveling the playing field for smaller libraries and increasing access to state funds because libraries are cornerstones of their communities. Their adaptability is key to providing access to information, services, skills, and job opportunities. Libraries also serve as a meeting place and an area of interaction that is sorely needed in our society. I was proud to cosponsor this legislation and advocate for it earlier this year when I visited the Marcellus Free Library. I extend my gratitude to Governor Hochul, Senator Sean Ryan, Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre, and Senator Pamela Helming.”

Senator Pam Helming said, “Libraries provide essential services to people of every age and are part of the heart and soul of our local communities. With this new law I was proud to help champion, our small rural libraries will have access to more funding opportunities. That’s good news for our local libraries and all those who enjoy and rely on their programs and services.”