New York State Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre and Senator Sean Ryan have announced that their legislation (A.7021/S.6511) to amend library funding eligibility requirements has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.
Senator Ryan and Assemblymember Jean-Pierre, who are respectively Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Libraries committees, sponsored this bill to streamline library aid formulas and modernize aid program requirements. The new guidelines will improve efficiency by providing greater flexibility and easing program administration and reporting requirements.
The bill also helps libraries who have had construction projects delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under previous requirements, libraries receiving construction aid from the state were required to complete their projects in three years. Under the new legislation, any library that began a construction project in April 2020 or later now has four years to finish construction.
Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre said, “By modernizing the aid formulas through which they are funded, our libraries will be better prepared to adapt to the myriad changes in the way library and information services are now delivered. New York’s library patrons will be better-served as a result of this important legislation, and I am thankful to my colleague Senator Sean Ryan and Governor Kathy Hochul for their leadership and efforts to usher this bill into law.”
Senator Sean Ryan said, “New York’s Public Library Construction Aid program provides critical funding to help libraries renovate their buildings, allowing them to make improvements and create new spaces for patrons to enjoy. With the rapidly changing realities that dictate how libraries operate in 2021, the previous guidelines governing library aid in New York had long since become outdated. The changes we have made with this legislation allow us to better support libraries throughout New York. Investing in libraries is investing in our communities, and streamlining this process will help us reach a greater number of communities throughout our state.”