The Modeste Bedient Memorial Library in Branchport, has received a $46,500 grant for expanded library services, according to information released by State Sen. Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano recently.

Several other libraries in the Southern Tier System are receiving grants that are being awarded through the New York’s $14-million Library Construction Grant Program contained in last year’s state budget.
“A public library is a fundamental resource for area families, seniors and countless other community residents. We’re hopeful that these grants will help local libraries better afford and address their renovation needs,” the legislators said in a joint statement.

According to the New York State Library, which administers the grants, a recent survey revealed that public library construction and renovation needs statewide total more than $2.2 billion. Nearly 50 percent of the over 1,000 public library buildings across New York are over 60 years old. Another 30 percent are more than three decades old.  Many of the state’s local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, do not have sufficient space to house the library’s collection, and lack sufficient space for public access computers.

Grants help libraries make renovations and upgrades, update electrical wiring to accommodate computer technology, renovate facilities to provide wheelchair accessible entrances and become fully accessible, and provide community meeting rooms.