Albany, N.Y., May 7—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R-C-I, Corning) and Assemblyman Christopher Friend (R, Big Flats) announced today that public libraries throughout Chemung and Steuben counties have been awarded state library construction grants.
The area legislators said that the grants are being awarded through the state’s $14 million Library Construction Grant Program contained in last year’s state budget.
"A public library is a fundamental resource for area families, seniors, and countless other community residents. We’re hopeful that these grants will help local libraries better afford and address their renovation needs," the legislators said in a joint statement.
According to the New York State Library, which administers the grants, a recent survey revealed that public library construction and renovation needs statewide totaled more than $2.5 billion. More than 40% of the over 1,000 public library buildings across New York are over 60 years old. Another 30% are more than three decades old. Many of New York’s local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, do not have sufficient space to house the library's collection, and lack sufficient space for public access computers.
The construction grants help local 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.
O’Mara, Friend and Palmesano announced the following grants to area libraries:
> Big Flats Library (Chemung County Library District), $30,228 for energy efficiency enhancements and the construction of a new handicapped-accessible circulation desk;
> Steele Memorial Library (Chemung County), $46,432 to construct a new computer training room, quiet room, program area and circulation desk;
> Horseheads Free Library (Chemung County), $26,284 for the construction of a new handicapped-accessible circulation desk;
> West Elmira Library (Chemung County), $22,375 for energy efficiency enhancements and the construction of a new handicapped-accessible circulation desk;
> Addison Public Library (Steuben County), $3,472 for handicapped-accessible improvements including enhancing access to computers;
> Savona Free Library (Steuben), $74,852 for improved services including the restoration of meeting and office space, and a new book storage facility;
> Southeast Steuben County Library in Corning (Steuben), $50,557 for improved services including the renovation of the Laura Beer Community Room; and
> Wimodaughsian Free Library in Canisteo (Steuben), $9,225 for energy efficiency improvements and a roof replacement.