County library opens a new chapter

Recently Senator Hugh Farley announced local libraries that were awarded construction grants, which had Schenectady County Public Library receiving $387,500 towards the expansion.

"Libraries are a place of lifelong learning that are available to everyone," said Farley in a statement. "These funds will help improve the buildings that house vital information and allow organizations to keep up with the demands of their users; whether it be installing climate control systems so books do not deteriorate, improving entrances for people with disabilities, or upgrading wiring for Internet and computer needs."

The bathrooms in the central branch are very old and outdated, said Kulmatiski. This also poses a problem for handicapped library patrons.

"Our bathrooms are 40 years old and a mess and not handicap accessible," he said.

The public wanted to keep the building open not matter what, he said, so the expansion won't disrupt normal activity greatly.

"We have found that with our programming that people need a place that is open to everyone. This is a community thing where you will always have access to it," said Kulmatiski. "People need that to know the library is there and open when they want to come down and use it."

Library usage, despite what some may believe, has actually gone up according to Kulmatiski.

"It is amazing how busy it is right now," he said.

The library for years has struggled with attracting non-reader, he said, but with the online services the library has actually expanded its patron base and the expansion will help expand these demanded services.

Schenectady County held a ground breaking ceremony for the county's central library expansion on Wednesday, May 11. From left, Clifford Tepper, Library Board of Trustees; Cathy Gatta, County Legislator; Angelo Santabarbara, County Legislator; Esther Swanker, president of the Library Board of Trustees; Andrew Kulmatiski, Library Director; Steve Fitz, chair of the Library Board of Trustees Building Committee; Bill Leitch, president of the Friends of the Library; Judy Dagostino, chairwoman of the County Legislature, Gary Hughes, chair of the Legislature's Committee on Education and Libraries; Karen Johnson, vice chair of the Legislature's Committee on Education and Libraries. Below, an artist's rendering of the new building.

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