The library building is a service you provide to your community. Like all other services, STLS is here to support you in making your facilities sustainable, healthful, and positively impactful on the lives of your community members, as well as the people who work there. Below you will find resources aligned with the most common areas of questions we receive. Many of them are designed for building and architectural professionals – so don’t feel intimidated if you don’t get all the jargon.

If you would like additional information, or have a different question altogether, don’t hesitate to contact Margo Gustina, STLS Deputy Director and facilities planning and construction aid consultant: gustinam@stls.org. Margo will talk with you about what you hope your building will do – in service, in the community, and in the environment.

Construction Aid
This year’s Construction Aid application requirements, links to webinars, and full allocation amounts can be found here: https://www.stls.org/construction-aid

Sustainable and Living Building Resources

Ask on the director’s list serv (directors@stls.org) about current geothermal and solar companies libraries around here are using.

Sustainable Library Certification Program

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Living Building Challenge

Accessibility & Usefulness
Questions about design for use and accessibility? If you don’t have a trusted building professional handy, talk it over with Margo. Together we’ll be able to find the right path forward.

Library Service Walk-About

Universal Design for Ease of Use tool 

State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)

Libraries applying for grant funds to renovate their buildings which are older than 50 years, need SHPO approval if their projects aren’t listed on the exemptions list.

When using CRIS to submit your project to SHPO, use these tips:

  1. Gather your photos and documentation (floor plans, architectural renderings, etc).
  2. Make a legend of the photos you’ve taken of the space that will be impacted (or the exterior of the building). Upload that on a document with the photos labeled appropriately. For example:
  3. If you paste many photos into a document and save it as a .pdf – uploading will be faster (just upload the .pdf) and the SHPO consultant will be faster to get back to you.

Like most public employees, the good people at SHPO are strapped for time. That said, they love to help libraries preserve local cultural heritage, including library buildings themselves! Contact them if you’d like preservation assistance: https://parks.ny.gov/shpo/

Preserving the Community's Built Heritage

The National Park Service maintains the National Register of Historic Places, as well as develops guidance for organizations occupying historic buildings on maintaining them. Preservation Briefs are written as though every project is seven figures, but the ideas are scalable and applicable to projects of any size. Check them out here: https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs.htm

Concerned you can’t afford preservation? The Preservation League of New York State has two grant cycles a year that cover the cost, either up to 80% or up to $3,000 for planning preservation projects. Renovation and preservation are both eligible for New York State Construction Aid to Public Libraries funding.


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