Grants Keep Libraries Comfortable and Safe

Public LibrariesSince 1998, the Community Foundation's Community Fund has made 21 grants totaling $113,715 to public libraries. And it's remarkable how often libraries ask for help simply to ensure that collections and patrons stay warm, secure and dry.

Take the time in 2010 when a careless driver crashed his car into the Apalachin Library. Insurance covered the repairs. But when the contractor noted the rough shape of the roof on the main building — a 19th century structure — that came as a shock. "The contractor said, 'You have to do something this year, or you're going to ruin the building,'" recalls librarian Cathy Sorber.

In May, 2011 the Apalachin Library installed a new roof thanks to an $11,850 grant from the Community Foundation. We also helped the library pay for building renovations in 2003, an upgrade to the heating system in 2004 and, in 2009, a replacement for a badly-damaged front porch.

An aging structure overhead also caused problems for the Berkshire Free Library in 2011. "Someone from the insurance company looked at the roof and said it needed attention in order for us to continue with the insurance," says Carol Kania, a trustee and project manager for the library. "It wasn't leaking, but it was getting to the end of its guaranteed life."

The Community Foundation provided $1,500 toward the cost of installing a new roof in the spring of 2012. The Foundation also helped the Berkshire Free Library in 2003 with $3,500 toward building renovations.

The William B. Ogden Free Library in Walton is another structure we've helped to keep in good repair. A $9,000 grant in 2009 helped the library upgrade its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to better preserve the building and its collections. And we provided $9,481 in 2007 to help replace shelves and bookcases lost in the flood of June 2006.

Along with those grants, the Foundation has responded to some especially compelling needs inside library buildings as well. In 2008, for example, we gave the George F. Johnson Memorial Library in Endicott $10,129 to buy a die-cut machine to use in children's programs and an interactive white board for use by community organizations in the library's meeting room.

From toddlers to seniors, our neighbors visit their community libraries for learning, pleasure and social engagement. These homes-away-from-home need to stay safe, sound and well-furnished. We're glad for the opportunity to help.

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