ELMIRA, N.Y., (WETM) – State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) today announced that the Southern Tier Library System and individual public libraries in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates counties have been awarded state library construction grants.
They said the grants are awarded through the state’s Library Construction Grant Program, which is distributing $14 million in capital funds from the 2020-21 state budget for this year’s awards.
“A public library is a fundamental resource for area families, seniors, and countless other community residents,” they said in a joint statement, “That point has been driven home like never before over the past eighteen months when throughout this COVID-19 response our public libraries have been centers of public outreach and information. We are always hopeful that these grants will help local libraries better afford and address their renovation needs.”
According to the New York State Library, which administers the grants, surveys have estimated that the cost of public library construction and renovation needs statewide totals more than $1.5 billion. More than 50% of the over 1,000 public library buildings across New York are over 60 years old. Another 33% are more than three decades old.
O’Mara and Palmesano announced the following grants to area libraries:
- Southern Tier Library System (Painted Post, Steuben County), $184,566.00 to install a Delivery & Library Material Sorting Area, Breakout Work Space & Conference Room installations, lighting upgrades, and an IT Office Expansion
- Chemung County Library District-Steele Memorial Library (Chemung County), $87,000.00 to install and stripe the library’s parking lot to improve safety and accessibility
- Dundee Library (Yates County), $30,425.00 to remove and existing and install a new ADA-compliant vertical wheelchair lift to increase accessibility
- Tompkins County Public Library (Tompkins County), $15,092.00 to replace the interior main lobby single center opening automatic door with two separate entrance and exit doors
- Watkins Glen School District Free Public Library (Schuyler County), $17,325.00 for Phase 2 of a two-phase construction project to restore safety and accessibility to the building with new ADA-compliant sidewalk entryways
The construction grants help libraries and library systems make renovations and upgrades, update electrical wiring to accommodate computer technology, renovate facilities to provide wheelchair-accessible entrances and become fully accessible to persons with disabilities and provide community meeting rooms.