State budget lending a hand to area libraries

Aug 24, 2015

Buried in the $140 billion state budget is a relatively tiny line item for $14 million for capital construction aid for local libraries. The funding is being put to use at libraries throughout the region.

The state is allocating $49,000 toward repairing the roof at Lake Shore Library in the town of Hamburg.
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Those local libraries apply for the money under formula which divvies it up. Locally, it's going for building additions, parking lot work and energy efficiency.

While a library can be part of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, the building is owned by a financially-strained local government.

"It is always important to us to have up-to-date heating and cooling and address different ADA access points and what not," said Director Mary Jean Jakubowski.

"Anything that we can get that can help us leverage the local funding that is put towards capital is always beneficial to us and we are absolutely thrilled that we were able to, again, get the money through New York State Construction Aid."

Wilson will get nearly $3,000 toward new energy-efficient windows. West Seneca gets $439,000 toward a library addition and the Lake Shore Hamburg library gets $49,000 toward a roof replacement.

Senator Robert Ortt says libraries have to take money from books for capital projects.

"They have limited budgetary options. So, for every dollar they spend on capital improvements, that's a dollar they aren't spending on books or other services we all expect when we go to the library. This allows them to focus their resources on books and services and take some of the pressure off to make needed capital improvements," said Ortt.

A recent survey finds more than 1,000 public libraries across the state are more than 60 years old and in need of serious work.