Senator Rachel May announces more than $780,000 in library funding

Senator Rachel May

Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) announced that the Mid York Library System, which covers Madison and Oneida counties, has been allocated $436,734, and Onondaga County Public Library has been allocated $326,996 in state aid for library construction funds.

The money will enable our local libraries to complete various construction projects which will improve accessibility and safety – new HVAC systems, ADA-accessible entrances and parking lots, and new community rooms. The funding is going to 14 different libraries across the 53rd Senate District.

The funds are from $34 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects provided in the FY2018-2019 State Budget.

In addition, Senator May announced $80,000 in bullet aid for libraries in the 53rd Senate District from the FY2019-2020 State Budget. Each of the 29 libraries will receive $2,750 in funding to use at their discretion. Beauchamp Library received an additional $250 to support their summer education programs.

“It is incredibly important that we provide state funding to help our public libraries improve their ability to serve residents,” said Senator May. “Libraries are critical community resources which allow our children and residents of all ages to have access not only to a plethora of reading materials, but also to the technology and broadband services that many lack at home. We rely so heavily on internet and computer access for daily life that we often forget the digital divide that hinders so many people’s ability to fully participate in society. By investing in ADA-accessibility, better indoor lighting and air quality, and up-to-date computer and broadband technology, we are ensuring that our residents have full access to the resources we all need in a safe and welcoming environment.”

New York’s public libraries are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading. There is 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are energy inefficient, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring.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.

In the FY2019-20 state budget, the Legislature provided $34 million for projects that will be announced in summer 2020.

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