Senator Montgomery applauded the designation of $330,301 in public library construction grant funds for four public libraries in her 18th Senate District.
The Bedford Library, Clinton Hill Library, Saratoga Library, and Walt Whitman Library have each been awarded a grant of more than $80,000. The funds will enable each of these libraries to add Self-Check technology, replace the traditional larger circulation desks with smaller service kiosks, and renovate staff work rooms. This will allow these Brooklyn Public Library locations to implement a new, more effective model of service.
The grant awards were made possible by a $14 million appropriation for public library construction provided in the 2011-12 State Budget.
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 $2.53 billion. More than 40% of the over 1,000 public library buildings in communities 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, are energy inefficient, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, and do not have sufficient space to house the library’s expanding collection, address the need for adequate meeting room, or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 grants from the $14 million Public Library Construction Grant Program include financing construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings, and the renovation and/or rehabilitation of existing space, including roof replacement, purchase and installation of alternative energy resources and new HVAC systems, windows, doors, and lighting systems, electrical upgrades, and construction of new or replacement of old walkways and parking lots, among other things. New furniture, shelving and equipment, including computer equipment, can be purchased for new or newly reconfigured or renovated space. Renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities is a high priority.