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Libraries in 60th Senate District selected to receive state funding totaling nearly $680,000 for construction projects
On Friday, New York State Sen. Sean Ryan, chairman of the New York State Senate Libraries Committee, joined representatives from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library to announce he secured $678,488 in funding for the Isaías González-Soto Branch Library in Buffalo and the Grand Island Memorial Library for renovation costs.
The Isaías González-Soto Branch Library will receive $660,623, the second-highest total granted to an existing library this year. The funds will allow the branch to add security cameras and make renovations including a new roof, windows and flooring. The Grand Island Memorial Library will receive $17,865 for a partial foundation rehabilitation, and lightpole and sidewalk replacement to improve safety and accessibility.
The funding comes from $14 million in capital funds for State Aid for Library Construction provided in the 2020-21 state budget. The money has been divided among 135 public libraries and systems throughout New York to support construction and renovation projects. 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.
Priority was given to renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities and projects that will extend library services to people residing in geographically isolated and economically disadvantaged communities.
Construction funds are allocated to New York’s 23 public library systems. 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.
In the 2021-22 budget, Ryan worked to secure $34 million for capital projects – a $20 million increase from the previous year. This funding will be allocated in summer 2022. The deadline for submitting an application to the New York State Library for this round of funding is Oct. 6.
Ryan said, “New York’s Public Library Construction Aid program provides critical funding for libraries throughout our state, and its effects are far-reaching. When we invest in libraries, we invest in our communities. Infrastructure investments like the ones we’re announcing today help ensure that our local libraries can continue to provide a wide range of essential services to the people of Erie County.”
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Interim Director Jeannine Doyle said, “On behalf of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, I would like to thank New York State Sen. Sean Ryan and the entire New York state delegation for their support of libraries. September is Library Card Sign-Up month, and I can’t think of a better time to celebrate the benefit these funds will provide at the Isaías González-Soto Branch Library and the Grand Island Memorial Library. These libraries are vital community centers, and the building improvements will ensure we continue to offer a safe and welcoming place for all to visit.”
Grand Island Memorial Library Director Bridgette Heintz said, “We are extremely grateful to New York State Sen. Sean Ryan for spearheading state library construction funding, especially during these challenging times. Grand Island Memorial Library patrons love their library and will be pleased to see these safety improvements and enhancements.”