Local Libraries Receive Funds for Building Projects from State Department of Education – Port Washington News | Team Cansler

By: Jennifer Corr & Julie Prisco

View of the Port Washington Public Library from Main Street.
(Photo by the Port Washington Public Library Facebook)

The New York State Education Department awarded $34 million to 233 public libraries and systems statewide in October, including the Great Neck Public Library and the Port Washington Public Library. The funds are intended to help libraries construct new buildings, create extensions, upgrade electrical wiring and computer technology, improve broadband infrastructure, meet energy efficiency standards, and renovate facilities to provide full accessibility for library users with disabilities, as well as create meeting space needs of the community into account.

“Government building subsidies give public libraries the opportunity to meet the changing demands of the modern world. Nassau residents still use the library to browse and borrow books, but they also use libraries for remote workspaces and for the experience of co-learning through events and programs,” said Nicole Scherer, associate director of the Nassau library system. “The public library building is an essential commons. Construction assistance is critical to ensure that public libraries can continue to adapt their buildings to the needs of the community.”

A press release from the state Department of Education states that eligible project activities include funding for broadband infrastructure, construction of new library buildings, construction of extensions to existing buildings, and renovation or refurbishment of existing spaces. Projects may include roof replacement; Purchase and installation of alternative energy sources, HVAC systems, windows, doors and lighting systems; electrical upgrades; and construction of new or replacement sidewalks, parking lots, standby generators and electric vehicle charging stations. In addition, new furniture, shelving and appliances, including computer equipment, can be purchased for new or newly renovated rooms.

“Also prioritized are renovations aimed at providing accessibility for users with disabilities and projects to extend library services to people living in geographically isolated and economically disadvantaged and distressed communities,” the press release reads.

Nassau County Libraries determine what projects they would like to undertake to improve their library. Then, the Nassau County Library System helps libraries apply for grants for the various projects and assists libraries throughout the application process.

The Parkville branch building. (Photo from the Great Neck Library website)

The Great Neck Public Library received $297,281. The money will go toward the renovation of the Parkville branch, which will change the interior design to make the most of space while maximizing function and appeal.
The Great Neck Public Library system consists of four distinct buildings: the main building, the Lakeville branch, the Station branch, and the Parkville branch. The Parkville office is located at 10 Campbell Street.

Like most libraries, the Great Neck Public Library offers many events, classes, and workshops for young children, youth, adults, and seniors. Each branch in the Great Neck Library system offers different events. With the money the Parkville office has received, it will be able to redesign its space to increase availability for the fun and educational events that many residents attend.

The Port Washington Public Library received $279,282. The money will fund upgrades to the library building’s exterior to improve energy efficiency and reduce air and water infiltration. The roof replacement over the adult education center is also in the plan for upgrades.

“It’s a phased project,” said Keith Klang, director of the Port Washington Public Library. “The long-term goal of the project is to make the library more sustainable, reduce energy costs and reduce any type of water infiltration into the building that would compromise us structurally.”

Phase one of the two-phase project began right after Labor Day. Phase one focuses on the facade and roof of the building to be renovated. In phase two, all the windows around the building will be resealed and the dome glass replaced if necessary.

“Library Construction Aid funding is something that we advocate for every year with the help of our legislators, our representatives and our attorneys in Albany,” Klang said. “We are not alone in this; There are many libraries across the state that need this type of help. In order for us to be great libraries, we must have the buildings to serve the community. We are really grateful to everyone for helping to secure the funding.”

“A library is a point of pride for any community as an embodiment of its belief in the power of learning and connecting with one another,” Scherer said. “This is especially true in Nassau County, where people value opportunities for personal growth. Our public libraries, in this capacity, serve people of all ages and interests whenever they are willing, and we are rewarded with passionate customers in return.”

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