Albany – Today, April 6, 2021, New York State Senator Sean Ryan and New York State Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre announced that the state budget for FY 2021-2022 includes nearly $130 million in total aid to public libraries across New York State. Senator Ryan and Assemblymember Jean-Pierre serve as Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Library Committees.
The budget includes a restoration of $7.1 million in cuts to Aid to Public Libraries, for a total allocation of $94.1 million. The budget also includes a $20 million increase for the State Aid for Library Construction Program, for a total allocation of $34 million. This funding will support the maintenance, renovation, and expansion of existing facilities, and new construction of public libraries throughout the state, with a focus on digital equity needs for various communities.
The budget also restores $250,000 in funding for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and $75,000 in funding for the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center.
Senator Sean Ryan said, “Public libraries are a cornerstone of society, and increasing their funding was one of my top priorities during budget negotiations. The pandemic has put a spotlight on how important these institutions are to their communities. By providing internet access and other crucial services during these especially challenging times, libraries have been critical to New Yorkers who face access barriers. The funding included in this year’s budget will help our libraries build for the future as we continue our economic recovery from the pandemic.”
Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre said, “Our public libraries are the hearts of our communities and these institutions have gone above and beyond to provide critical services for New Yorkers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From bridging digital equity gaps to supplementing educational services for our schoolchildren, our libraries truly do it all. As Chair of the Assembly Libraries and Education Technology Committee, I am committed to doing all I can to deliver the resources our libraries need so that they can continue to serve our residents, and I am confident that the funding allocated to libraries in this year's budget will truly help out communities rebuild and prosper in the months and years to come."