By Brandon B. QuinnState Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. has announced the awarding of more than $550,000 in state construction grants to help pay for ongoing renovations to two East End libraries.
The East Hampton Library, located on Main Street, will receive $342,262 in state funds for its new children’s wing. The John Jermain Memorial Library, temporarily located on West Water Street in Sag Harbor while the historic 101-year-old building on Main Street is being renovated, is set to receive $227,041.
“This is just an awesome gift for us,” said Catherine Creedon, director of the John Jermain Memorial Library, who added that she hopes to be back in the old library building by late winter or early next spring. “We’re very grateful to Fred Thiele for securing these grants and for his support of libraries in general.”
The renovation in Sag Harbor is being primarily funded through a $10 million referendum approved by library taxpayers in 2009, as well as an additional $2.5 million raised by Ms. Creedon through various avenues. The money secured by Mr. Thiele will be added to that fund.
The additions in East Hampton have been debated and discussed since 2004, with ground finally breaking on the project in April 2012. Although the project is set to cost about $4 million, only $3.2 million was raised from private donors when construction began. The original plan was to raise all the funds through private donations.
According to Mr. Thiele, 78 percent of the state’s public libraries are more than three decades old, and in need of renovation in order to accommodate users with disabilities, become more energy efficient, update their internet capabilities and house a growing collection of books.
“With libraries now experiencing remarkable increases in use and with budget cuts creating significant hardship, I am thrilled that so many of my constituents will benefit from increased library resources,” Mr. Thiele said in a statement.