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June 14, 2017
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



State Education Department Announces $19 Million In State Aid For 216 Public Library Construction Projects Statewide

The State Education Department today awarded $19 million in state aid to 216 public libraries statewide for construction and renovation projects, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today.

“Investing in public libraries means investing in our communities,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “These funds will help libraries make much-needed renovations and upgrades to better meet the needs of the children, families, and adults they serve every day. We must continue to invest wisely in our public libraries.”

“These funds provide needed financial support to public libraries across the state,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “Many libraries in New York lack modern facilities or technology and need to undergo renovation or expansion to better serve the community well into the future. The Board of Regents and I thank Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature for committing these funds."

Awards range from $2,500 to $2.4 million. A complete list of funded projects is available here: Awards by region are below:



Total Award Amount

Number of Projects Funded

Capital Region



Central New York



Finger Lakes



Hudson Valley



Long Island



Mohawk Valley



New York City



North Country



Southern Tier



Western New York




“Today, more than ever, we need to support our libraries,” said Senator Carl L. Marcellino, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “As I talk to my libraries, I am repeatedly reminded how demand for their services is on the rise.  Our libraries make our community a better place to live, and we simply must invest to protect and expand their buildings and programs. These funds will allow for much needed construction and technology upgrades statewide.”

“It is important that we continue to invest in our neighborhood libraries,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “I would like to commend Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and the State Education Department for awarding these important grants that will go a long way to making the right investments for our communities around the state.” 

“Libraries across New York State do an excellent job at connecting people with endless opportunities for learning, growth and culture,” said Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Libraries. “I’m pleased that through this funding, libraries across the state–and in the region I represent–will be able to continue to improve their services for patrons.”

“New York’s public libraries can only thrive with consistent and meaningful investments,” said Assemblymember Dan Quart. “As Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, I understand the challenges our institutions face and the choices they must make to keep their doors open and serve their communities. I’m proud that this year we are able to offer a significant commitment to help our libraries make much needed repairs and upgrades. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the legislature and Governor Cuomo for recognizing the vital role libraries play in our neighborhoods.”

Public libraries may apply for an award that could fund up to 75 percent of a project. Project activities eligible for grants include financing construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings, and the renovation or rehabilitation of existing space. The projects can include roof replacement, purchase and installation of alternative energy sources and new HVAC systems, windows, doors, and lighting systems, electrical upgrades, and construction of new or replacement of old walkways and parking lots. New furniture, shelving and equipment, including computer equipment, can be purchased for new or newly renovated space. Broadband infrastructure projects are also eligible. Renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities is a high priority. Priority is also given to projects that will extend library services to people residing in geographically isolated and economically disadvantaged communities.

Construction funds are allocated to New York State’s 23 public library systems based on formulas in Education Law.  Member libraries within a system apply for the State funds allocated to their public library system.  Each library system’s governing Board of Trustees then prioritizes the projects and sends approved project applications with recommended project awards to the State Library.  After State Library review, applications are then sent to the Dormitory Authority of New York State (DASNY) for final review and approval.

The state funds are from $19 million in capital funds for State Aid for Library Construction provided in the 2016-17 State Budget. In the 2017-18 State Budget, the Legislature provided $24 million for projects that will be announced in Spring 2018.