The Gold Coast Public Library in Glen Head and the Locust Valley Library has together received over $265,000 for both libraries to begin various and extensive construction projects.
The funding comes thanks to the New York State Department of Education’s Construction Aid grant. Dozens of Long Island libraries have received over $4 million to help restore, rebuild and renovate their buildings.
The State Aid for Library Construction Program is a formula aid program which any New York state library can apply for chartered in the state. If accepted, the program provides funds to help cover the costs for the “acquisition, construction, renovation or rehabilitation of public libraries or public library system headquarters” according to the program’s website.
Michael Morea, library director at Gold Coast, explained that libraries can apply to the program whenever they have major improvements or changes to be made to their buildings. He added that Gold Coast has received money from the program before, but that this is one of the largest amounts they’ve ever received.
“We apply every year over the summer and then the state makes awards the next year based on the system’s recommendations,” Morea said. “It’s a really great program.”
Gold Coast received roughly $166,000 from the grant program this year to help cover the cost of building the foundation for their new library building. In 2020 the community passed a referendum to build a new library building on Glen Head Road, which will replace their current property.
The award money does not cover the entire cost of the projects it funds.. Jenny Bloom, director at Locust Valley, said in order to receive funds, the library must be able to cover half of the cost of the project they are working on.
Bloom added that this money can make all of the difference for a library’s ability to afford essential infrastructure projects. For the Locust Valley Library, which received over $100,000 from the program, it will allow them to make widespread changes, including installing interior glass walls and an HVCAC system plus rebuild part of the interior and build a new parking lot.
“We’re really happy with the amount we received because the project that we’re doing with it is substantial,” Bloom said. “We’ve been applying for it and gotten money from it for many years for projects that we’ve had in the past, but this is a particularly large amount for us.”
The Locust Valley Library began the construction of its new parking lot and has also started repainting and recarpeting the interior of their building. In addition, Bloom said that they will change the layout of the library in order to provide more private spaces for groups such as English Second Language classes, which currently have nowhere quiet to practice.
Meanwhile, the Gold Coast Library is hoping to begin construction for the first phase of the new library building in the next few weeks. Part of the reason for the construction of the new site was so that the library would not have to pay $100,000 annual rent on the building.
The first stage of the construction will be pouring a concrete foundation for the new library. Morea said there is no precise timeline for the project, but he is hopeful that the new library will open by early 2025.
The new changes to both libraries will help improve patron experience and provide increased resources and flexibility for the two libraries. Morea said the new building would be a hybrid model of digital and physical storage, rather than simply having a large book collection.
“We get lots of people coming in all the time, and we’ll have more shelf space in the new building, but we also have a lot of digital items so there’s no need to have one of these gigantic physical collections anymore,” Morea said. “I know the community will be happy to see the work we’re doing. They’ve been very patient with us.”