Assemblymember Kelles Announces State Aid for Library Construction to the Tompkins County Public Library

ITHACA, NY - Assemblymember Anna Kelles announced that the Tompkins County Public Library has been allocated $15,092.00 in state aid for library construction funds. The funds will cover the cost of the TCPL’s replacement of the interior main lobby single automatic doors with two separate entrance and exit doors, an update designed to help the library improve COVID-19 safety protocols.

“Libraries have served as a lifeline for our communities during the COVID-19 crisis, as places for learning as well as children's development, social connection, and civic engagement,” said Assemblymember Kelles. “I was proud that we were able to fight to restore cuts to library funding in the budget this year, providing essential capital funds for public library construction and Library Aid. I will continue to fight to increase funding to our local libraries and library services.”

“We greatly appreciate the funding support that Anna Kelles assisted us in receiving in order to better distance and protect our patrons as they entered and exited our library building during the challenging COVID times and beyond,” said Sarah O’Shea, Librarian. “The new door construction is safer and much more functional for our building.”

The funds are from $14 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects provided in the FY2020-2021 State Budget.

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 $1.5 billion. Over half of the over 1,000 public library buildings in communities across New York are over 60 years old. Another one third 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are energy inefficient, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring. Many 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 FY2021-2022 State Budget, the Legislature provided $34 million for projects that will be announced in Summer 2022.