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August 15, 2019
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Announces $34 Million in State Aid for 251 Public Library Construction Projects Statewide

The State Education Department awarded $34 million in state aid to 251 public libraries statewide to support construction and renovation projects, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. These funds help libraries construct new buildings, create additions, update electrical wiring and computer technology, improve broadband infrastructure, meet energy efficiency standards, renovate facilities to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities, and provide meeting spaces to accommodate community needs. 

“When we invest in public libraries, we invest in our communities,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “This state aid will help over 250 libraries make much-needed renovations or upgrades so they can best serve the children, families and adults who visit every day.”

“Public libraries are there to support learners of every age, ability and background and are a focal part of their community – that’s why it’s so important to invest in our libraries,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “These funds will help libraries expand their program spaces, make necessary building repairs and upgrades, and provide computer technology that people rely on every day. We thank the Governor and the State Legislature for committing these funds for New York’s libraries.”

A complete list of funded projects is available on the State Library’s website. Awards by region are below:

Awards by Region
Region Total Award Amount

Capital Region


Central New York


Finger Lakes


Hudson Valley


Long Island


Mohawk Valley


New York City


North Country


Southern Tier


Western New York


"Public libraries are vibrant centers of our communities where people come together to read, to learn, to explore and to advance their interests," said Chairwoman of the New York State Senate Education Committee Shelley B. Mayer. "I am pleased the legislature designated substantial funding to expand library accessibility, modernization and expansion to serve more children, families and communities with updated technology, expanded facilities and greater access to the global learning environment."  

"Libraries have continued to grow and evolve with the development of new technologies," said Assemblyman Sean Ryan, Chairman of the Assembly Libraries and Education Technology Committee.  "As a result of that growth, we've seen libraries across the state trying to fit expanded technology and programming into spaces that aren't designed for the needs of today's patron. The construction aid funding we were able to secure in this year's budget will ensure that libraries can make critical upgrades that will allow them to grow existing programs, increase accessibility and enhance the technological services they can offer to their community. Libraries provide an environment for lifelong learning and we must maintain our commitment to these important facilities."

Project activities eligible for awards 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 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 $34 million in capital funds for State Aid for Library Construction provided in the 2018-19 State Budget. In the 2019-20 State Budget, $34 million was provided for projects that will be announced in summer 2020. The deadline for submitting an application to the New York State Library is October 31, 2019.