New York Assemblymember Dan Quart, Chair of the NYS Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, today announced a $19 million state aid award package for public library systems around New York. This money will be invested in 216 libraries statewide to enable critical infrastructure and capital upgrades.
As Chair of the Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, I fought hard for increased funding in this years budget for our public library system, said Assemblymember Dan Quart. Its crucial that we make wise investments to support libraries and strengthen learning opportunities for New Yorkers. Libraries are more than just a place to read. For many, they are lifelines into their communities, especially low-income areas. With increased uncertainty at the federal level, we cannot put access to knowledge and information at risk. Empowering our libraries will make our communities and New York stronger.
These awards were made possible by a $19 million appropriation in the 2016-17 state budget. Assemblymember Quart pushed for this funding, which represents a $5 million increase from the previous years budget. In his first year as Chair of the Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, Assemblymember Quart continued to advocate for investments in our libraries, in the recently passed 2017-18 state budget, he helped secure an additional $10 million in capital library funding for a total of $24 million.
New Yorks public libraries are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading. More than 51% of our library buildings are over 60 years old, and another 44% are more than three decades old. This aging infrastructure leaves local branches unable to accommodate users with disabilities, provide reliable internet access, and adequately service their growing user base.
Some of the projects eligible for funding include updates to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities, building extensions, roof replacements, alternative energy system installations, broadband upgrades, and more.
The library capital projects made possible by the 2017-18 state budget appropriations will be announced in Spring 2018.