East Hampton Library, John Jermain Memorial Library, Rogers Memorial Library and Shelter Island Public Library are recipients of $152,500 in New York State Public Library Construction Grants, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor announced Monday.
Many local public libraries are in need of renovation, upgrading and expansion. A recent survey of New York’s public libraries showed a documented need for construction and renovation projects totaling more than $2.2 billion. More than 48% of the more than 1,000 public library buildings in communities across New York are over 60 years old. All of the East End grant recipients are more than 100 years old.
The East Hampton Library is receiving $10,000 for fire sprinklers. The John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor will receive $50,000 for upgrading technology, energy efficiency, and safety/code compliance projects. The Rogers Memorial Library is receiving $42,500 for a new roof. The final grant recipient is the Shelter Island Public Library. The library will receive $50,000 for safety, handicap accessibility and energy efficiency projects.
“It’s absolutely awesome,” said Catherine Creedon, director of the John Jermain Memorial Library. “John Jermain has been lucky to receive these grants the past 5 years.” The $50,000 grant will go toward “a variety of things” including code compliance and updating programming. “It’s wonderful,” Creedon said, noting the community’s support for the 105-year-old library.
The New York State Education Department/New York State Library approved 182 construction awards to public libraries and public library systems throughout New York State. These awards are supported by a $14 million capital fund appropriation in the 2014 State Budget for construction and renovation of public libraries and public library systems in New York State.
Many of New York’s local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, and do not have sufficient space to house expanding collections, address the need for adequate meeting room, or provide for public access computers. In addition, many have outdated and inefficient heating/air conditioning and lighting systems that are costly to maintain and hazardous to the environment.