Assemblyman Robin Schimminger recently announced the North Tonawanda Public Library, located at 505 Meadow Drive, will receive a $22,769 grant to update exterior lighting, as well as the security and telecommunications system.
"Libraries are such an important asset to our communities," Schimminger said. "These state funds will help improve the North Tonawanda Public Library for all the patrons who enjoy the library's facilities."
The grant is one among 216 construction awards to public libraries and public library systems in legislative districts throughout New York state. These awards are supported by a $19 million capital fund appropriation in the 2016-17 state budget.
"This funding is vital for the library to complete the necessary upgrades to the facility, providing library patrons with the most up-to-date safety and infrastructure improvements," said Paul Sikora, the library's board of trustees president. "This funding will be used for a complete update of the building's internal telephone system, security camera system, and parking lot lighting. These are much needed improvements that will allow us to keep our building and surrounding grounds safe and accessible for the entire community."
He added, "With these upgrades, our telecommunications system will be replaced with new phones and software which will improve public access and library service. Our aging security camera system will be replaced with an all-new surveillance system, improving the safety of the building and surrounding grounds and parking areas. Finally, the parking lot lighting will be upgraded to modern LED fixtures, which will provide greater illumination while saving electric costs due to more energy efficient bulbs and components. The Library board, director, and all the patrons express their appreciation to Assemblyman Schimminger for the financial assistance provided to the library."
Schimminger's office stated, "New York's public libraries are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading. A recent survey showed a documented need for public library construction and renovation projects totaling more than $1.7 billion. More than 51 percent of the over 1,000 public library buildings in communities across New York are more than 60 years old. Another 33 percent are more than three decades old.
"Many of New York's local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, are energy inefficient, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, and do not have sufficient space to house the library's expanding collection, address the need for adequate meeting room, or provide for public access computers."
Project activities and expenditures eligible for funding from the State Aid for Library Construction Program include financing construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings, and the renovation and/or rehabilitation of existing space.
Projects may include roof replacement, purchase and installation of alternative energy resources, new HVAC systems, windows, doors, lighting systems, electrical upgrades, and construction of new or replacement of old walkways and parking lots. Broadband infrastructure projects are also eligible. New furniture, shelving and equipment, including computer equipment, may be purchased for new or newly reconfigured or renovated space. Renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities are a high priority.
In the fiscal year 2017-18 state budget, the legislature provided $24 million for projects that will be announced in spring of 2018.