Funding for State Aid for Library Construction comes from an annual appropriation in the NYS Budget. The minimum allocation per project is $2,500. There is no set maximum award allocation, although funds are limited by total availability.
Funds have been allocated to public library systems based on formulas in Education Law 273-a. All individual public and association libraries must work with their appropriate library systems to develop and submit online applications.
Each time a library submits an application for State Aid for Library Construction, a project number is assigned. A project number is a unique number assigned to a library’s project application in a given fiscal year. The middle 2 digits for each project number indicate the fiscal year of the application (23 for 2023, etc.). Applications submitted in summer/fall 2023 are for fiscal year 2023-2024 and will have numbers that look like 0386-24-XXXX.
When a library talks about a construction project with multiple phases, they often refer it as “the renovation project” or “the library construction project.” This project might include, as an example:
However, only the prices, timetable, and details for the components that are part of the specific phase that is being applied for should be included in that application.
Often, libraries think of multi-year projects in phases and consider all of the phases to be part of a single project. However, the Division of Library Development and DASNY consider each fiscal year application (unique project number) to be a separate project. Finances for each project number must be kept completely separate, and reported only under the corresponding project year.
July 1, 2018-June 30, 2024
July 1, 2019-June 30, 2025
July 1, 2020-June 30, 2026
July 1, 2021-June 30, 2027
July 1, 2022-June 30, 2028
July 1, 2023-June 30, 2029
Note: Projects now have 6 years to be completed, updated in Chapter 333 of the Laws of NY 2022.
Only one project per library building may be submitted in each fiscal year application cycle for State Aid for Library Construction. A library that has multiple branches may submit an individual application for a project at one branch and an application at each branch. If a library is participating in their system’s Coordinated Project that year, they may also submit a separate application for an individual library building. Projects that are complete prior to the due date to the library system are not eligible for funding.
Legislation passed in 2019 allows for a library system to submit a coordinated project application that includes multiple library buildings within the same project. The library system is responsible for the overall management of these projects. Each library system may submit one coordinated project per funding year.
Each coordinated project application must be approved by the board of trustees of the library system and the board of trustees of each participating member library. If a member library has multiple buildings (a main building and branches), each building may be included in a library system coordinated project application.
Library system coordinated projects are eligible for a maximum award of fifty percent of the total project approved costs. Match funds may be provided by local libraries and/or the library system.
Outdoor projects must have a construction focus and cannot comprise repairs or maintenance. Landscaping is only permitted if it is required due to construction.
Installation of new asphalt, concrete, etc. is typically considered construction.
New carpet, flooring, and painting are only eligible for award funding if they are required due to other construction or code.
New furniture may be eligible for award funds if it will be furnishing a room or space where construction is happening in this project number.
Mold testing and abatement, lead testing and abatement, and asbestos surveying and abatement cannot be standalone projects and funding must come from match funds.
Libraries are permitted to purchase property with State Aid for Library Construction Funds. Sites may be purchased with or without an existing structure.
Property must be purchased at or below market value. An appraisal is required for any purchase of $150,000 or more.
It is permissible for a library to purchase a property and demolish an existing building on that property in the same project number. It is also permissible for a library to purchase a project in one project number (fiscal year application cycle) and demolish the building in another project number a year later, as long as another construction component is also included with the demolition (such as pouring a new foundation).
Computer equipment is eligible for award funds if it is installed within the context of an eligible construction project. For example, if a library constructs a new computer lab and purchases computers for the new lab, that could be eligible. Other eligible items include broadband installation, assistive listening devices and systems, security systems, permanent signage (may be electronic), and generators.
Projects involving the purchase, installation or replacement of a library building’s broadband services infrastructure, including but not limited to external and internal connections, either as a stand-alone project or as a project component of a larger renovation project, are eligible for State Aid for Library Construction funds. The purchase of initial necessary equipment or the upgrade of existing equipment, such as servers, routers and wireless hubs, are also eligible expenses as part of a broadband project.
Broadband infrastructure projects involving fiber buildout that are eligible for State Aid for Library Construction funds should meet the following criteria:
New and renovated public library and library system buildings are required to be in compliance with all current ADA regulations, which include addressing specific requirements such as assistive listening devices and systems. Priority is given to construction projects that provide improved access to and use of building services by persons with physically handicapping conditions.
The following items are ineligible for inclusion in projects that will receive state aid for construction according to 8 NYCRR 90.12:
Money received from the state as part of a State Aid for Library Construction Project.
Money supplied by the library to cover the difference between the total project cost and the amount of award funds received from the state.
Award Funds + Match Funds = Total Project Cost
Match Funds are not the same as a Dollar-for-Dollar Match.
The following costs will likely need to be covered by match funds according to 8 NYCRR 90.12:
Landscaping, painting, and furniture purchases that are not required due to other construction components cannot be paid by award or match funds. They are entirely ineligible to be included in the project.
DASNY will not approve projects that contain components which they perceive to be repairs or maintenance. For example, “fix cracks in parking lot,” would likely be perceived as a repair, whereas installing a new parking lot would qualify as construction.
Chapter 381 of the Laws of 2019 amended Education Law 273-a to allow for additional State funding up to 90% of the total project costs for a library serving economically distressed communities. The law was amended again by Chapter 672 of the Laws of 2021. These amendments allocate to each library system a limited amount of funding to support such projects (funding is capped at 50% of the library system's construction aid allocation.) If a library’s application is selected by the system for State funding above 75%, the entire award of the library’s project application must come from this capped system allotment of 50%. If a system does not use the entire 50% allotment to fund projects requesting over 75%, then those State funds may be used to support other library projects.
Libraries serving economically distressed communities must first meet the poverty-level requirements to receive State funding at the 75% level:
The poverty rate of the library’s chartered service area must be equal to or greater than the New York State average poverty rate according to federal census data from the American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate Data Table S1701 (updated yearly). The State Library will determine if a library meets this requirement. Systems reviewing member library applications and considering allocating additional state funds above 75% to a project will request a poverty rate eligibility determination for the applicant library prior to the final submission of the project application to the State Library. Determinations made by the State Library are required each year that a library applies for aid; eligibility requirements change annually, which may result in a change from prior year determinations.
Prior to requesting a determination of eligibility, systems may use the link and chart provided below to find a preliminary poverty rate estimate based on the library’s chartered service area. If the system has determined that the library is a possible candidate for the 90/10 program, library systems must contact the State Library to request an official poverty rate eligibility determination. This should be done well in advance of library system board review and submission of the projects to the State Library, but after the library submits an application to the library system.
Please note: The New York State Library must approve eligibility for all 90/10 applicants. Poverty rate numbers determined by the system may vary from the data and process that the State Library uses to make their determination. Requests for a determination of eligibility must be made by the system.
If the library meets the poverty rate requirement as determined by the State Library, then the project application must also include the documentation by the library in conjunction with the library system.
State Aid for Library Construction operates on a 6-year project cycle. Below is a sample project timeline for fiscal year 2023-2024 (0386-24-****). Program years run from July 1 to June 30.
During year 1, libraries prepare their applications and submit them to the library systems. System due dates range from mid-summer to early fall. Library systems review the applications and then submit them to the Division of Library Development by the due date in early October.
All costs incurred starting July 1, 2023 are eligible to be paid with award funds. Costs incurred from January 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023 can be included in the project, but must be paid for with library matching funds.
Division of Library Development and then DASNY move the applications through the approval process.
Awards are announced in late summer or early fall of year 2. Libraries must begin work within 180 days of the award announcement, if they haven’t already. The first 90% of the funding is distributed. Libraries submit progress reports for any projects that will not be complete by the end of year 2 (June 30, 2025).
Work continues. Libraries may submit closing documentation whenever project work is complete and all invoices have been paid. The final 10% of funding is distributed to each library upon completion of the closing process. Progress reports are required on a semi-annual basis for all projects that have not yet been closed out.
All projects must be completed by June 30 of year 6. No additional extensions can or will be granted per Education Law.
The remaining 10% of aid is paid to the library upon successful completion of project and approval of required paperwork, regardless of year. Libraries must have adequate funds to complete the project, as the remaining 10% will not be paid until the project is complete.