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Across Upstate, Libraries Awarded State Construction Grants for Upgrades

libraryAcross Upstate New York, several libraries were recently awarded with state construction grants to be put toward long-awaited improvements and upgrades.

According to The Batavian, both Pavilion Public Library and Byron-Bergen Public Library were approved for these public library construction funds, with the libraries receiving $283,877 and $283,877 respectively.

In the Utica area, meanwhile, Dunham Public Library, Jervis Public Library, Mid-York Library System and Utica Public Library have all been approved for funding.

These funds come from a $14 million capital fund appropriation outlined in New York State’s 2014-2015 budget, and are intended to support the revitalization of public libraries across the state, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi told WIBX.

“Our libraries are more popular than ever and are a vital part of our communities. It is important to make sure that these facilities are safe and accessible, and can meet the demands of the growing number of people using them. These grants are a very worthwhile investment in the future of our region,” Brindisi said.

For many of New York State’s libraries, these grants will represent a small portion of the money needed to bring the facilities up to their ideal standards. A recent survey found that the need for public library construction and renovation projects statewide now adds up to more than $2.2 billion. More than 48% of the more than 1,000 public libraries across Upstate have been in existence for more than 60 years; another 30% are 30 years or older.

As a result, a stunning number of public libraries are in shockingly poor shape. Many buildings aren’t accessible to people with disabilities. Some don’t even have Internet access for patrons.

Others are energy inefficient, with outdated heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that waste energy and money. Dunham Public Library, Mid-York Library System and Utica Public Library will all use their state funding toward new, more energy-efficient HVAC units, which will be able to last as long as 12 years.

No matter what each library chooses to spend its grant money on, it’s clear that each upgrade will be sorely needed — both for the library itself and for the community that surrounds it.

“Whether for Internet access or to promote reading among children, our local public libraries provide invaluable resources to so many residents in our community,” State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said.