State Assemblyman Buchwald & Senator Latimer Announce Over $400,000 in Grants to Improve Westchester Libraries.

June 1, 2017

State Assemblyman David Buchwald and Senator George Latimer announced that over $400,000 in construction grants are being awarded to improve the infrastructure at six Westchester County libraries. Libraries receiving construction funds include those in Bedford, Bedford Hills, Harrison, Katonah, North Castle and White Plains. The grants support needed improvements like new roofs and air conditioning systems, as well as creating and renovating space for the latest in library technologies. Funding for these public library construction projects was provided in the 2016-2017 State Budget.

“Our community libraries are a focal point for gathering and learning. I am thrilled to join Assemblyman Buchwald and the indefatigable workers and volunteers who keep our libraries running in announcing these grants that will keep our libraries safe and accessible for years to come,” said Senator George Latimer, (D-Rye).

“Westchester’s libraries provide the entire community with places to discover, learn and connect,” said Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester). “These construction grants allow our libraries to make needed infrastructure improvements so they can continue providing educational programs and universal access to library materials.”

The six library construction grant awards, totaling $402,528 are:

  • Bedford Free Library, for roof replacement and fireplace repairs, $28,804
  • Bedford Hills Free Library, to replace a thirty-year-old HVAC system, $23,804
  • Harrison Public Library (Richard E. Halperin Memorial Library Building), for roof replacement, $123,804
  • Katonah Village Library, to install automatic accessible doors at patron entrances, $13,804
  • North Castle Public Library (North White Plains Branch), to help renovate the building to support new library technologies, $58,805
  • White Plains Public Library, to support extensive first floor renovations that include the community room, classrooms and a cafe, $153,807

“We are thrilled to be the recipient of a construction grant that was secured for us by Assemblyman Buchwald and Senator Latimer,” said Bedford Free Library Director, Ann Cloonan. “Our cozy village library is an historic building and that makes major projects costly. This was the first time I had applied for a construction grant and we will be using the funds for a new roof and interior fireplace repairs.”

“We are so grateful for the support from Assemblyman Buchwald and Senator Latimer,” said Mary Esbjornson, Director of the Bedford Hills Free Library. “Built in 1860 our library is charming, but our air conditioning system needed to be replaced and our electrical system upgraded. This grant comes at the perfect time as our Summer Reading Program brings in many children and families and we want them to be comfortable and happy in our space.”

“The Harrison Library Board of Trustees would like to thank Senator Latimer and State Assemblyman David Buchwald and his office staff for their work in helping us secure a Library Construction Grant for our Downtown Branch housed in the Halperin Building,” said Robert Blake, President, Harrison Library Board of Trustees. “The monies will help to replace a badly worn roof and keep our patrons safe and dry.”

“This grant for automatic ADA compliant doors will benefit people with disabilities, seniors, moms with strollers and patrons carrying armloads of books,” said Katonah Village Library Director Mary Kane. “It also improves accessibility for all residents. Assemblyman Buchwald and Senator Latimer’s support for this project is greatly appreciated.”

“David Buchwald and Senator George Latimer have been tremendous advocates for all libraries in our state and both have fought successfully for significant increases for the NYS Library Construction Grant program,” said Sean Ryan, North Castle Public Library Board President. “They have helped our library expand space available to our patrons, enabled implementation of new technology based programming and supported upgrading our infrastructure with greener and more cost effective solutions.”

“This construction grant helps fund a reinvention of this grand Library, creating The Hub for adults with a new community room, new classrooms, expanded technology and even a café,” said White Plains Library Director Brian Kenney. “We are fortunate that Assemblyman Buchwald and Senator Latimer, along with Assemblywoman Paulin and Senator Stewart-Cousins, understand libraries new role as community centers focused on lifelong learning, and the funding for these major renovations supports this important mission.”

Assemblyman Buchwald and Senator Latimer are longtime advocates for the region’s libraries supporting their important role in education, and as thriving community centers. The $402,528 in construction grants announced today re-affirm that commitment.