Assemblymember Kelles Announces State Aid for Library Construction of $601,750 to Cortland Free Library

Cortland, NY – Assemblymember Anna Kelles announced that Cortland Free Library of the Finger Lakes Library System was awarded $601,750 in state aid for library construction funds. The funds will enable Cortland Free Library to reconfigure the main reading room, expand and reconfigure elevator access, install an updated HVAC system, and improve exterior signage, enhancing accessibility and energy efficiency at the library.

The funds are from $34 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects provided in the FY 2022-2023 State Budget.

Assemblymember Anna Kelles stated, "Libraries are the lifeblood of every community. In particular, libraries have been indispensable through the pandemic and through our post-pandemic adjustment to a new normal. Libraries have provided education and tutoring, access to the internet, job training, and in some cases, sites for food pantries and shelter from the storms of life. Last year we fought hard to increase capital funding for libraries in the budget, and it is so exciting to see the additional $34 million we secured being put into action. Over $600,000 to the Cortland Free library means that deferred maintenance and reconfiguration needs can move forward to ensure the library is truly accessible to all Cortland residents. A huge congratulations to the hardworking staff of the library for their great work every day for us all!"

Jen Graney, Cortland Free Library Director, stated, “This funding will help us improve the accessibility of the library, expanding the elevator access to the second and third levels and opening up areas that were previously inaccessible to those with mobility challenges. We want the library to be a space that can be used and enjoyed by all, so I am excited that this funding will help us make that possible.”

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 $1.5 billion. More than half of the over 1,000 public library buildings in communities across New York are over 60 years old.Cortland Free Library is almost 100 years old, first chartered in 1925 and opening in 1927.Many of New York’s local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, are energy inefficient, and cannot provide internet and computer access and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring. This critical investment by New York State will help address these issues in libraries across the state.


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, EV charging stations, standby generators, and construction of new or replacement of 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 FY 2023-2024 State Budget, the Legislature provided another $34 million for projects that will be announced in the Summer of 2024.