Area public libraries will receive money from the state, according to state Sen. Catharine Young, R-C-I-Olean.
Each of the 59 public libraries in Young's district will receive a $2,700 grant as a result of funding secured in this year's state budget. The money will support library initiatives and help meet basic operational expenses. In addition, several libraries have been awarded construction grants designated towards specific vital projects.
"Today's libraries serve an invaluable role in our communities. They host after-school and summer programs for students, provide a forum for educational public events, and provide online access and other valuable resources to job seekers. Our libraries provide opportunities for both young people and adults to further their education, job seekers to find work, and children to have a safe and productive place for learning," Young said. "When it was proposed that library aid be cut by $4 million in this year's state budget, I knew how detrimental this decrease would be for libraries. The Senate coalition successfully restored the cut with a $5 million increase, bringing total library aid statewide to $86.6 million."
In addition to the $86.6 million of statewide funding and the $2,700 grants each library in Young's district will be receiving, eight libraries will receive construction funding through a $14 million capital fund appropriation secured in the 2013-14 state budget last year. This funding through the Public Library Construction Grant Program will help libraries accommodate users with disabilities, provide up-to-date infrastructure for computer and Internet access, and allow greater room for collections and meeting space.
Because more than 48 percent of the over 1,000 public library buildings in New York state are more than 60 years old and another 30 percent are at least three decades old, structural improvements are vital to their continued use.
Area grants include:
Ashville Free Library - $61,156 for vinyl siding, insulation, and construction of a new front entrance;
Lakewood Memorial Library - $7,351 for new sign combining traditional and digital elements creating an improved roadside presence and communication tool;
Mayville Library - $181,582 for a meeting room addition, installation of handicapped-accessible restroom, replacement of roof on existing building, and parking lot renovation.
In addition, the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System located in Jamestown will receive $6,604 for renovations, adding new partitions and other interior modifications that will facilitate increased productivity and improved results that will benefit libraries across the region.
"Residents will greatly benefit from the expanded services these renovations and improvements will make possible. These library buildings are in urgent need of upgrades," Young said. "Although budgets remain limited, more people are utilizing our public libraries, making it increasingly difficult for their hardworking librarians and staff to provide the services and opportunities that people have come to expect. The services and improvements this funding makes possible will allow all of our libraries to meet the needs of patrons and continue to admirably serve their communities."