Trustee Tuesday: Construction Aid

$880,000+ Available to STLS Chartered Member Libraries

The New York State fiscal year 2018-2019 has passed with a bonded allocation of $34 million to fund public library construction across the state. For our membership, this means a nearly 45% increase in our local funding allocation, allowing us to provide more than $880,000 in assistance to member library projects.

Have a project you’d like funded? None of the other eligibility rules from the state have changed for this 2018-2021 funding cycle. So, while we haven’t locally approved all Aid forms STLS members will be using, I can offer you this quick list of requirements:

    • Must have matching funds of at least 25% of the total project cost (Have $50k? You can do a $200k project).
    • Total project costs cannot be less than $5,000
    • You must be prepared to begin your project by October 2019 (you’ll receive 90% of project funding by then)
    • Dust must fly! DASNY requires that the funds be used primarily on permanently installed or constructed features. Furniture and other equipment can be included as a minor part of an overall renovation.

Other considerations include if your building is over 50 years old and your project will in any way involve disruption to the appearance inside or outside of your building, you need SHPO approval. Don’t delay on this – it takes a minimum of 30 days, and for every request for additional information, another 30. See the SHPO section of our Facilities resources page.

I’ve set up a webinar and an in-person workshop to help give you an overview of our local STLS process for allocating funds and how it leads to the state’s application system. All forms relating to the application process for our members can be found at If you are still just kicking around ideas and you’d like to explore resources that could help focus your thinking, visit Consider using the Usefulness tools (Walk-About and Ease of Access are both listed) to help you get a sense of ways improving your building could improve the services you provide to your community.

Every year STLS receives approximately $1 million in funding requests for eligible construction projects. We are as excited as you are that this year we may be able to fully fund your projects. Help us get that work done by contacting us soon to let us know what you are thinking.

Your Library As Place

Construction Aid for Public Libraries is one way we can support our members in making their libraries THE PLACE in the community to bring people together, to serve their learning needs and passions, and connect them to the right resources at the right time. Between now and the Trustee Retreat on June 7th, each Trustee Tuesday will focus on one aspect of placemaking in local libraries. I’ll be covering Healthy Buildings, Universal Design for Use, Capital Funds (whats, whys, hows),  and Master Plan vs Conditions Report.

As ever, please contact me with your ideas!

Yours, in building better places,