Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C-Schoharie) announced that Worcester Free Library and Rensselaerville Library have been allocated $24,203 in state aid for library construction funds. The funds will enable these libraries to make necessary improvements including a fire detection system and a new roof. The funds come from $34 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects provided in the 2022-2023 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 $1.5 billion. More than half of the over 1,000 public library buildings in communities across New York are over 60 years old. Another third are more than three decades old. Many of New York’s local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, are energy inefficient and cannot provide internet and computer or other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring.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 rooms or provide public access computers.
“I have always strongly supported our local public and school libraries,” said Tague. “They provide access to a diverse range of information, books, digital resources, and educational programs, fostering intellectual growth, critical thinking and personal development for people of all ages. Supporting these libraries ensures equitable access to knowledge, bridges educational gaps and strengthens the social fabric of neighborhoods by creating spaces for discovery, collaboration and cultural enrichment.”
Project activities and expenditures eligible for funding from the State Aid for Library Construction Program include financing the 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 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 2023-2024 state Budget, the Legislature provided $34 million for projects that will be announced in the summer of 2024.