Three libraries in Otsego and one in Delaware will receive construction grants, state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, announced last week. 

“Our libraries are vital educational resources while also serving as community gathering places,” Oberacker said in the release. “In many of the towns and villages that I represent, the local library hosts public meetings, delivers key services to residents young and old, and is the most recognizable building in the community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our local library administrators and volunteers have faced new challenges and developed creative solutions to continue to safely serve the public.”

Edmeston Free Library will receive $92,532 for first-floor ADA compliant bathroom installation, second-floor bathroom renovation and the installation of a wheelchair lift servicing two floors. Kinney Memorial Library was awarded $9,000 to replace the asphalt shingle roof on a portion of the library. With its $28,819 grant, the Richfield Springs Public Library plans to replace windows to save on fuel and help preserve the collection. The Sidney Memorial Public Library will receive $32,887 to renovate the libraries more than 15-year-old parking lot.

The grants are from $14 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects provided in the 2020-21 state budget. In the 2021-22 state budget, the legislature provided $34 million for projects that will be announced in summer 2022.

Public library construction grants help local libraries and library systems to construct new library buildings, create additions to existing structures, update electrical wiring to accommodate computer technology, meet standards of energy efficiency, renovate facilities to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities, and provide meeting rooms to accommodate community needs, according to the media release. New furniture, shelving and equipment, including computer equipment, can be purchased for new or newly reconfigured or renovated space. Renovations designed to provide accessibility for those with disabilities are a high priority. Broadband infrastructure projects are also eligible.

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