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State Librarian Bernard A. Margolis announced today the results of a new statewide survey documenting construction and renovation needs of more than $1.7 billion over the next four years for 743 public library facilities, including neighborhood branches. The survey report “Estimated 2017 to 2020 New York State Public Library Construction Needs” is now available on the State Library’s website at http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/construc/needs.htm.

New Yorkers are using their public libraries more than ever before.  Attendance is increasing in many libraries, and new construction and renovation are essential to accommodate accelerating use. There are 756 public libraries in New York State with more than 1,000 buildings, including neighborhood branches. More than half of the public library buildings in New York are now over 60 years old; 155 were built before 1900.  Many of these libraries lack facilities to serve their communities adequately.  Twenty-two percent (22%) do not have all public areas accessible to wheelchair users. With so many public libraries being housed in older buildings, many libraries still need to upgrade electrical and wiring for public access computers and broadband infrastructure and do not have sufficient space to house library collections.  In addition, with the cost of fuel and electricity increasing each year, many libraries are finding that inefficient buildings are robbing the library of vital fiscal resources that could be used for program and collection enhancement.  Libraries are adapting their facilities to the use of alternative energy sources and replacing or upgrading their buildings to make them energy efficient.

New York State provided $19 million in one-time capital funds for State Aid for Library Construction for 2016/2017.  The results of this new survey show the critical need for additional State funds to address public library construction needs.  The Board of Regents approved at their November 2016 meeting a budget proposal to increase capital funds for State Aid for Library Construction by $6 million to $25 million for 2017/2018.

The “Estimated 2017 to 2020 New York State Public Library Construction Needs” survey data is organized by public library system, then by county.  Senate and Assembly districts are indicated for each building.  For further information about these new survey results or the State Aid for Library Construction Program,  please contact Mary Anne Waltz, Construction Program Manager, Division of Library Development, New York State Library at Maryanne.waltz@nysed.gov or (518) 474-1479.

New York’s Libraries Information Network
November 28, 2016