County library opens a new chapter

Schenectady County's central branch library to be expanded

Community support played a major role in Schenectady County's main library get an expansion, which has been a 10-year push for library officials.

Schenectady County officials, County Library Board of Trustees members, Friends of the Library and other major donors held a ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 11, for the county's central library branch 6,700 square foot expansion project, which will create a new children's area. The addition will allow the library to bring more creative programming for children and expand the toddler and summer reading groups. Moving the children's area will also allow for additional space for technology services including new computer stations. The first floor and the lobby will also see upgrades, which include renovations to the library's outdated restrooms.

This has been a great example of a public and private partnership that works and I think the Library Board of Trustees and their Building Committee for their efforts, said County Legislator Gary Hughes, chair of the Education and Libraries Committee.

The County Legislature approved $1.5 million in county funds towards the project, which is matched by donations secured by the Library Board of Trustees and private grants. The Wright Family Foundation has committed $500,000, the Schenectady Foundation has committed $100,000 and the Friends of the Library committed a total of $350,000 towards the project. The county previously provided $2 million for the completed upgrades to the library's heating and cooling, electrical, fire safety, ventilation systems and asbestos abatement.

"For us it is just showing the value that we place on children programming," said Andy Kulmatiski, director of the Schenectady County Public Library. "It is a wonderful step forward for the community and I think it shows where our values are."

For 10 years, said Kulmatiski, library officials have expressed the need for the project and despite difficult economic times the funding was able to be secured from the public. He said over the years $2 million have been raised for the expansion and it has been awarded over $1.5 million in grants.

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