Grant Program Guidelines and Instructions

An appropriation of $14 million in State capital funds for public library construction has been included in the 2014-2015 State Budget for a grant program period of July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2017. Public library systems as well as individual public libraries can apply for grant awards.  All individual public libraries must work with their appropriate library systems to develop and submit online applications. Grant funds have been allocated to public library systems based on formulas in Education Law 273-a. The minimum grant award is $2,500 for a minimum total project cost of $5,000. The deadline for submitting a grant application to the New York State Library / Division of Library Development is October, 16, 2014.

The 2014 application procedure for the Public Library Construction Grant Program is an online process.  All required forms will be found on the Construction Grant Program online application portal. User names and passwords will be required to access the online portal. 

NOTE: Documents can be attached in MS Word (.doc), Excel, PDF, .txt, .bmp, .jpg formats.

Application and Assurances

All questions must be answered.  Applicant must indicate compliance with the Assurances by checking all appropriate boxes.  The first three assurances apply to all libraries, and all three boxes must be checked. The fourth applies to any library that does not own its building with the exception of those libraries whose buildings are owned by a school district or BOCES.  The President of the Library/System Board of Trustees must sign the Authentication of Application. The Assurances form (in MS Word [Word document icon 24k] | .PDF [PDF icon 22k]) is submitted as a signed PDF attachment.

Construction Project Narrative

The project narrative is divided into sections: Project Abstract, Description of Project, Impact of Project, Timetable

Project Abstract: A brief description of the project, limited to 150 characters, must be provided.

Description of Project: Include a complete description of the proposed project for which funding is being requested.  If this project is part of a larger project during the grant funding period (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2017), please describe the entire project.  Describe construction activities including the intended physical alteration of the building.

Impact of Project: Describe how the project will address one or more of the following Public Library Construction Grant Program priorities:

  1. Increased effectiveness of library service due to increased and/or improved building space and capacity;
  2. More efficient utilization of the library building resulting in such economies as energy conservation and increased staff efficiency (Libraries and library systems are encouraged to support “green” projects that may result in buildings eligible for LEEDS certification);
  3. Improved access to and use of building services by all library users, including those with physical disabilities; and
  4. Provision of library services to geographically isolated or economically disadvantaged communities.

Timetable: Provide a detailed timetable, indicating the projected start date, the duration of the proposed project, the beginning and ending dates for all contracted services, and the schedules for all other significant activities impacting the project.

Project Cost Estimate

A project cost estimate that is a reliable assessment of true project cost must accompany the application. Such estimate must be in the form of a quote document from a contractor(s) to assure that the full cost of the project can be reliably assessed. If the construction project is multifaceted and more than one contractor will be involved, e.g., an electrician, plumber and carpenter, a quote from each contractor is required. All quote documents should detail individual costs (as appropriate) and be submitted as PDF attachments.


If the project for which funding is being requested is part of a larger comprehensive project then please provide details on the larger project’s activities in the “Project Narrative” section of your application.

It is not required that a library has entered into final agreements with a contractor(s) at the time of application. However, allowing for reasonable increases in the cost of construction from the time the application is submitted, steps should be taken to assure that the cost estimates reflect anticipated true cost to ensure that sufficient funds are available to pay for the cost of the project, minus the award amount. Note: Contingency costs that allow for price increases cannot be entered as separate entries on the budget as it will be assumed that the contractor quote covers such contingencies.

If the Cost of the Project for Which Funding is Being Requested listed as (b) on the application form is part of a larger comprehensive project, then list the cost of the larger comprehensive project in (a) Total Project Cost on the application form.  If the Cost of the Project for Which Funding is Being Requested listed as (b) on the application form is not part of a larger project then (a) Total Project Cost and (b) Cost of Project for Which Funding is Being Requested will be equal.

Note: For the purposes of the 2014-17 application, the total project cost for which funding is requested, designated as “(b)” on the application form, cannot include any costs incurred prior to January 1, 2014.

Certification of Available Funds to Finance Project

The law allows that State funding through the Public Library Construction Grant Program can be provided for up to 75% of total construction project costs.  It also stipulates that the availability of funds to pay for the cost of the project, minus the amount awarded through the Construction Grant Program must be verified as part of the application. Such verification should be in the form of bank or bond certification, an official document(s) signed by a financial authority connected with the applying institution, and/or other such evidentiary documents as necessary.  Such available funds can include public funds (federal, state or local), private funds, or a combination thereof.  All funding certification documents must be submitted as PDF attachments.

NOTE: Many projects are not funded at the maximum 75% due to the unavailability of sufficient funds available through the construction program.  Applicants funded less than 75% of project cost must show certification of available funds to pay for the cost of the project, minus the award amount before a final award can be made.  Such certification documents must be submitted as PDF attachments.

Projects Funded, in Whole or in Part, Through the Issuance of Tax-Exempt Bonds, Bond Anticipation Notes, Revenue Anticipation Notes, or Other Similar Form of Obligation

If the project for which a library has submitted an application is or will be funded in whole or in part through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds, bond anticipation notes, revenue anticipation notes, or some similar form of obligation, the application must include the applicable authorizing resolutions adopted by the library or issuing party authorizing the bond issuance, a detailed breakdown of the expected or actual sources and uses of bond proceeds, equity or other funding sources for the project, a copy of the final official statement relating to the applicable issuance if available and a current cost estimate of the entire project.   All such documents must be submitted as .PDF attachments.

Certification of 10 Year Minimum Lease Agreement and Project Approval From Building Owner

If the library building or site is under a lease arrangement or otherwise legally available, the applicant must include a letter from the owner of such building or site certifying that the lease agreement or other legal arrangement will be in effect for a minimum 10 years from the date of anticipated project completion, that there is full awareness of and agreement with the construction project implications, that the owner has the legal authority to approve the improvement of the space, and that the building is open to the public. Such letter must be submitted as a .PDF attachment. NOTE: This requirement does not apply to library buildings that are owned by a school district or BOCES.

SED Office of Facilities Planning Certificate of Project Approval

The State Education Department is charged by the Secretary of State [19NYCRR441.2(d)] with the “administration and enforcement of the NYS Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code with respect to buildings, premises and equipment in the custody of, or activities related thereto, undertaken by School Districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services.”

If the library building is owned by a School District or BOCES and the total Public Library Construction Grant Program project cost will be $10,000 or more, the applicant must submit plans and specifications to the State Education Department’s Office of Facilities Planning (OFP) for review and approval. The OFP Certificate of Project Approval, including the OFP-issued Building Permit, must be included as a .PDF attachment.

Questions regarding the OFP approval process should be directed to OFP at (518) 474-3906. Calls will be directed to the appropriate Project Manager for the school district in which the library building is located.   

NOTE: The designator “school district public library” does not necessarily indicate ownership of a library building by the school district.  It refers only to the boundaries of population served by the library.  OFP approval is required only if the building is owned by a school district or BOCES, regardless of the library’s service area.

State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) Approval Documentation

New York’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), is part of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.  The mission of SHPO is to help communities identify, evaluate, preserve and revitalize their historic, archaeological and cultural resources. 

If your library building is 50 years old or older and/or the project involves ground disturbance and/or demolition, please read the following documents to determine if your project requires a SHPO approval:

If appropriate, an approval letter from SHPO must be attached your construction grant application as a signed .PDF.

More information

In the event a building is determined by SHPO to be of historical significance, the SHPO approval letter must specify the precise changes to the building that are being approved.  Any project components not specifically approved in writing will not be considered for funding.  In the event a building is determined by SHPO to lack historical significance, a letter to that effect from SHPO must accompany the application.  Such letter may be used in subsequent years to comply with construction application requirements.  All SHPO letters must be submitted as PDF attachments.    

Questions regarding the SHPO approval process should be directed to SHPO at 518. 237.8643.

Information about New York State’s historic preservation initiatives external link; opens in a new window

Environmental Assessment Form

The State Environmental Quality Review Act requires certain entities, including state agencies, public benefit corporations, and libraries to evaluate the potential environmental consequences of certain activities and to minimize adverse impacts. 

All applicants must complete the four-page Short Environmental Assessment Form (SEAF) as part of the application process.  In most cases, the SEAF will suffice to comply with the SEQRA process.  In certain cases, the applicant may need to complete a long form EAF.

All SEAF and EAF forms should be submitted as signed PDF attachments.  Pages 3 and 4 must be signed by the appropriate entities.

Information about these forms

Smart Growth Form

All applicants must certify that their proposed projects are in compliance with the Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act, which became law in 2010.

Information regarding this Act and its compliance criteria

Completed certification forms should be submitted as PDF attachments.  Please include the application project number on the form.

FS-10 Budget Forms

FS-10 Budget forms are essential for payment of approved project amounts. Library applicants submit three FS-10 Forms with original signatures in blue ink to their library system contact. Library systems submit all FS-10s to Kimberly Anderson at the Division of Library Development/New York State Library. Each page of the form must be a single sheet of paper, not back-to back, with the back page facing out.

NOTE: FS-10 forms are submitted with their category code amounts left blank, as these code amounts will be filled in at the Division of Library Development once a final award amount has been determined.  Proposed budget code amounts are completed online by the applicant.

Payee Information Form

In order to receive funds from the NYS Education Department, libraries must be entered on the SED Reference File and have accurate payee information on record.  Sections I, II, III, and IV should be completed on the Payee Information Form (in MS Word [Word document icon 92k] | .PDF [PDF icon 155k]) as per the instructions printed on the form. For Section III, #4, the Exemption Category for libraries is Category 2. Also, please complete a W-9 Form as per the instructions printed on the form.

NOTE: This form is NOT submitted as a PDF attachment, but must be submitted with original signatures, signed in blue ink to their library system contact. Library systems submit all FS-10s to Kimberly Anderson at the Division of Library Development/New York State Library.  Questions concerning the Payee Information Form should be directed to Barbara Massago.

Certificate of Occupancy (if applicable)

If the project requires that a local “Certificate of Occupancy” be obtained at the completion of the project, a copy of the certificate must be scanned and attached as part of the Final Project Completion activities. Note: the library cannot receive final payment until all of the required Final Project Completion activities are complete.

Examples of when a “Certificate of Occupancy” is typically required include: New Building Construction; Construction or renovation that significantly changes the current or intended use of library space. For example, a space that is currently used for offices or storage and is converted to public use space would possibly require a certificate of occupancy.  Be sure to consult and follow local government laws as they apply to certificates of occupancy to ensure compliance.

Building Photographs

Detailed photographs of the proposed construction project site are required to accompany each application.  Pictures must be scanned and submitted as part of the online application process.  Photographs showing completion of project activities are required to be submitted before final fiscal forms can be filed.

Reduced Match Justification form

This form is completed by library system staff.  This form is required to be completed and submitted as part of the online application by library system staff for each public library deemed eligible by the library system for a reduced match requirement below 50%.  State aid for public library construction can be provided for “up to seventy-five percent of the total project approved costs for buildings of public libraries that are located in an economically disadvantaged community,” as determined by the library’s library system.  Public libraries that are located in communities that are not identified by the library system as economically disadvantaged communities are eligible for a maximum of fifty percent of the total project approved costs.

Reduced Match Justification Form NOTE: This form is available online.

Last Updated: October 9, 2014 -- asm