ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The State Education Department announced a $34M fund to 223 public libraries and systems statewide to support construction and renovation projects. The funds will help libraries construct new buildings, create additions, update electrical wiring, computer technology, and renovate facilities to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities, among other things.

“Libraries play an integral role in strengthening and connecting our communities by providing access to beneficial, insightful, and accurate information,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester Young, Jr. said.“ Financial support of these important institutions improves the overall quality of life for all New Yorkers who use our library facilities. As an essential resource, these infrastructure investments will vastly expand our ability to support underserved populations and those living in geographically isolated communities through increased digital access, enhanced accessibility services, and other vital resources.”

The Capital Region will be receiving $1,817,192, from the grant, with Mohawk Valley receiving $1,532,942. Project activities eligible for awards include financing broadband infrastructure, construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings, and the renovation or rehabilitation of existing space.

“Libraries have a profound impact on the lives of their patrons by empowering them to fully participate in society in various ways, whether it is to pursue employment, self-education, accessing technology or making social connections,” Commissioner Betty Rosa said. “These funds will not only help to improve infrastructure but will also ensure that critical resources, materials, and services continue to be available to meet the needs of individuals and communities throughout our state to help them thrive.”