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Library Construction: Overview of State Aid for Library Construction

This list of FAQs is designed to answer questions that applicants may have about New York State Aid for Library Construction. If you have questions after reviewing these FAQs, please contact Natalie McDonough.

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Dates and timeline have been affected this year due to COVID-19.  Due to the increasing work load on our libraries and the economic uncertainties due to this pandemic, the North Country Library System (NCLS) has kept this funding cycle more flexible than in previous years.  The Intent to Apply Form usually required by the end of May must be completed before or during the June 30th to July 13th time period.  

Member libraries considering submitting an application are asked to contact the State Services Coordinator (dvincent@ncls.org) to set up a Zoom Meeting to discuss your library's proposed project. Technical support on the application process, eligibility, and components of the application will also be provided using Zoom.  Completed applications are due to NCLS by end of business on August 17, 2020.

State Aid for Library Construction

What is State Aid for Library Construction?

Funds from an appropriation of millions in capital funds in the State Budget to provide up to 75 percent of approved costs for broadband installation in, or construction, renovation, or rehabilitation of, or site acquisition for, public libraries and public library system headquarters - Education Law 273-a

In October 2019, two new laws amended Education Law 273-a

  • Chapter 381 of the Laws of 2019 allowing for funding of projects at up to 90% of the project cost, with the library providing a 10% match.
  • Chapter 389 of the Laws of 2019 allowing for coordinated applications for projects to be submitted by the public library system.

Amount of Aid Available

How Much Construction Aid is Available?

The State Legislature approved $14 million in funding for public library construction statewide.  This year, the system’s allocation will be $407,060 to distribute among applicants.​  See the allocation chart.

The minimum award is $2,500, for a minimum total project cost of $5,000. There is no maximum award beyond the obvious as there is a finite pool of money available to split between applicants. NCLS encourages libraries to show matching funds as close to 50% as possible in case the total amount for eligible projects exceeds our allocated award amount.

Intent to Apply forms must be submitted to the system prior to or during the June 30 - Jule 13, 2020 time period,

Program Description

The New York State Division of Library Development (DLD) assists member libraries with the planning and funding of library building construction, remodeling, energy conservation, emergency preparedness, accessibility, and renovations. 

Eligibility

Any public library or public library system chartered by the NYS Regents or established by an act of the NYS Legislature is eligible to apply for State Aid for Library Construction.

Eligible Projects

  • New construction
  • Reconstruction, restoration, rehabilitation, remodeling, refurbishing

◦Installation of photovoltaic panels, geothermal wells, and other alternative energy resources
◦Replacement of roofs, windows, and doors
◦Reconstruction of existing space
◦Accessible entryways (ramps & doorways) and bathrooms
◦Installation of elevators
◦New electrical, plumbing, lighting, and HVAC
◦New driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots

  • Broadband installation
  • Site acquisition (land with or without existing structure)
  • New furniture, equipment (if has a useful life over six years), computers and shelving for new or newly reconfigured space - MUST be within the context of an eligible construction project
  • Electric (emergency) generators
  • Permanent signage (interior and exterior)
  • Security systems
  • Assistive listening devices and systems
  • Supervision/management of the project(s)
  • Non-speculative architectural and engineering plans for approved projects

Conditional Projects

  • Per DASNY in 2019, asbestos abatement must be match funds.
  • Software licensing (only eligible as match funds)

Ineligible Projects

  • Maintenance and REPAIR activities, or what is perceived to fall into those categories.
  • New carpet, flooring, painting unless required by construction or code
  • Mold abatement as a stand-alone project
  • Equipment with a useful life of less than six years
  • Landscaping unless required by construction
  • Books, other library materials
  • Speculative architectural and engineering plans, building consultant feasibility studies
  • Asbestos survey only

Previously Approved Construction Projects

Key Dates

Approximate Timeline

  • June 30, 2020-July 13, 2020 Deadline – Intent to Apply: Libraries intending to apply must have completed the Intent to Apply survey and included a clear narrative describing the project before or during this time period.
  • June 2020 – Online application becomes available (Site visits are usually conducted during this time but that may not be possible due to the current COVID-19 situation).  Libraries are asked to contact Dawn Vincent (dvincent@ncls.org)  if their library is interested in applying for construction aid.
  • June-August 2020 - Libraries work on the application; NCLS offers technical assistance via phone and email (virtual conferencing sessions may also be available due to the current COVID-19 situation).
  • July 2020 – NCLS provides one-on-one sessions at the NCLS service center or through Zoom meetings
  •  August 17, 2020 – Deadline – Application: Grant applications (including all forms and attachments) must be completed and submitted before this date.
  •  August 27, 2020 - NCLS Board Recommendations Approved
  • October 6, 2020 - System Due Date to DLD 
  • June-August 2021 - Notification of Award from State Library 
  • July-September 2021 - 90% of award paid out to your library

How to Apply

  • Read the Guidelines for 2020-2022 NYS Construction Aid Program
  • Complete the State Aid for Library Construction Survey - Intent to Apply - 2020-2021 survey
  • Read the Guidelines and Instructions from the New York State Division of Library Development (DLD)
  • Check the DLD – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for questions that may arise
  • Register for a NYS Directory Service Account (if you don’t already have an account)
  • Once the portal is open, go to the Online Portal: and enter the username and password you received from the State.
  • Fill out the Online Application (Application Form, Additional Funding, Narratives, Budget)
  • Complete and upload all necessary attachments.  Keep in mind that some attachments require the Board President’s signature and/or Board Approval so please plan accordingly.
  • Print or save copies of the application for your library’s permanent file
  • Submit your completed application to NCLS by August 17,2020
  • Send documents that cannot be attached to the online application (FS-10s, Payee Forms, and W-9 forms) to NCLS.  These documents must reach NCLS before the August 17th deadline so please plan accordingly.

Construction Grant Contact Information

The system reviewer assists with the application process, reviews and ranks the applications, and then submits them to DLD with a recommended award amount.  The applications are then reviewed by the New York State Division of Library Development (DLD) and by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) for approval.

New York State Contact: System Contact:
Natalie McDonough Dawn Vincent
Library Development Specialist
Division of Library Development
New York State Library
Cultural Education Center
222 Madison Ave.
Albany, NY 12230
Natalie.McDonough@nysed.gov 
State Services Coordinator
North Country Library System
22072 County Route 190
Watertown NY 13601
Phone: (315) 782-5540 EXT 239
Fax: (315) 782-6883
dvincent@ncls.org