Cortland Free Library receives over $600,000 in state aid

(Photo provided by Cortland Free Library)

Cortland Free Library recently received over $600,000 in New York state aid for library construction funds.

Assemblymember Anna Kelles announced on Monday that the local library, located on Church Street in the city of Cortland, was awarded $601,750.

“New York’s public libraries are central community hubs but are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading,” Kelles said. “I was so honored to be part of the fight to increase New York’s commitment to libraries and I look forward to these funds enhancing the Cortland community.”

The funds enable the library to:

  • Reconfigure the main reading room
  • Expand and reconfigure elevator access
  • Install a new HVAC system
  • Implement the addition of exterior signage
  • And more

“I’m thrilled we’ve been awarded the funds,” said Jen Graney, Cortland Free Library director. “It’s going to make a big difference for the library and our community.”

Graney noted the elevator expansion will make the art gallery and the northwest mezzanine “accessible to all.” The new HVAC system, which will be designated for the main reading room, will bring air conditioning to this area of the library, Graney added.

Reconfigurations to the main reading room, Graney said, will allow for a “dedicated teen space,” community space, staff office and more.

“S. R. Ranganathan’s five laws of library science emphasize the use of books, individual access, matching books with readers, saving readers’ time, and the library’s evolving nature,” Graney said. “Cortland Free Library's awarded funding will drive growth and improvement. Given the many challenges we face in the library world, it’s so validating to be supported in this way.”

The funds come from $34 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects that were provided in the 2022-23 state budget.

“These funds represent New York State’s commitment to fostering vibrant community spaces that facilitate learning, collaboration, and accessibility,” State senator Lea Webb (D-52nd District) said. “Our libraries are not just buildings; they are spaces for education, innovation, and inclusivity. As we invest in the continued development of these libraries, we are investing in the future of our communities. I am proud to stand alongside our library representatives as we take this pivotal step toward creating modern, welcoming spaces that will benefit generations to come.”

Of those funds, $897,255 has been allocated, aside from Cortland Free Library, for the following libraries:

  • Broome County Public Library in Binghamton ($157,447)
  • Mary Wilcox Memorial Library in Whitney Point ($110,808)
  • George F. Johnson Memorial Library in Endicott ($27,250)

“(I am) grateful for the support of Senator Lea Webb, Assemblymember Anna Kelles, and fellow library advocates in these challenging times,” Graney said. “We’re excited to roll up our sleeves and get started on what we expect to be a multi-year project.”