Senator George Latimer (D-37 SD) and Assemblyman Steve Otis (D-91 AD) are pleased to announce important state construction grant awards for the Larchmont and Rye City libraries. The grants are part of a $14 million capital fund appropriation for public library construction in the 2015 state budget.
The Larchmont Public Library has been awarded $22,557 to construct two fully ADA compliant bathrooms in the main library building, while the Rye Free Reading Room will receive $19,350 for energy efficiency upgrades to replace florescent lighting with LED lights and install spray foam insulation in the library’s attic.
“I am thrilled to see these Public Libraries continue their work and improve the ways they serve the public. The Larchmont library continues its work to be more ADA compliant, building on its successful efforts with last year's grant funding. The Rye Reading Room has a great commitment to continued learning, and increased energy efficiency will allow them to get more out of the dollars they have," said Senator Latimer, who is the ranking member of the Senate Education Committee.
Like Senator Latimer, Assemblyman Otis, who serves on the Assembly Libraries and Education Technology and Education Committees, is a strong advocate for public libraries and has fought to increase library construction funding in the state budget. “These state grants are vital in making our libraries more efficient and inviting spaces for residents to enjoy,” said Otis. “By utilizing state funds for library infrastructure projects, we protect local property taxpayers from bearing the costs of these necessary improvements.”
New York’s public libraries are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading. A recent survey documented public library construction and renovation project needs totaling more than $2.2 billion. More than 51% of the 1,000+ public library buildings in communities across New York are over 60 years old. Another 33% 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are energy inefficient, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, and do not have sufficient space to house the library’s expanding collection, address the need for adequate meeting room, or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.
Earlier this year, the Legislature approved $19 million in the 2016-17 state budget for library construction projects that will be announced in the spring of 2017.