New York State Library

State Aid for Library Construction:
Guidelines and Instructions

The following information regarding the 2021-2024 State Aid for Library Construction is provided for informational purposes so libraries can begin to seek appropriate approvals in anticipation of a proposal to the State for funding.

An appropriation of $34 million in State capital funds for public library construction has been included in the FY2021-2022 State Budget for the program period of July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2024. Public library systems as well as individual public libraries can apply for aid. All individual public libraries must work with their appropriate library systems to develop and submit online applications. Funds have been allocated to public library systems based on formulas in Education Law 273-a. The minimum allocation is $2,500. The deadline for submitting an application to the New York State Library / Division of Library Development is 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 6, 2021.

The 2021-2024 application procedure for the State Aid for Library Construction is an online process. All required forms will be found on the State Aid for Library Construction Program homepage, and the online portal can be reached by clicking on the "Login" button on that page. User names and passwords will be required to access the online portal.

NOTE: Documents can be attached in MS Word (.doc), Excel, PDF, or .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 section on acquisition of real estate has four certification boxes that must be checked by all libraries that are purchasing real estate.

The fifth section applies to all libraries, and one of the two boxes must be checked, either if the library (a) owns its building (or the building is owned by a school district or BOCES) OR (b) the library building is leased by the library.

Ini the sixth section, all libraries must answer the SAM question.

The final assurance applies to all libraries and must be checked.

The President of the Library/System Board of Trustees must sign the Authentication of Application. The Assurances form (in .PDF [PDF icon 22k]) is submitted as a signed PDF attachment.

Broadband Projects

Projects involving the purchase, installation or replacement of a library building’s broadband services infrastructure, including but not limited to external and internal connections, either as a stand-alone project or as a project component of a larger renovation project, are eligible for State Aid for Library Construction funds. The purchase of initial necessary equipment or the upgrade of existing equipment, such as servers, routers and wireless hubs, are also eligible expenses as part of a broadband project.

Broadband infrastructure projects involving fiber buildout that are eligible for State Aid for Library Construction funds should meet the following criteria:

  1. Such projects should involve the creation of or the use of a “last mile” fiber buildout to the library(ies) or library system(s) building(s);
  2. Such projects should either utilize or create fiber connections that have the capacity to deliver Internet services at a connectivity rate of at least 100Mbps for libraries and library systems that serve fewer than 50,000 people and at least 1Gbps for libraries and library systems that serve 50,000 people or more.

Broadband Wireless Projects

  1. Broadband wireless projects eligible for State Aid for Library Construction funds should create wireless connections that have the capacity to deliver Internet services at a connectivity rate of at least 100Mbps for libraries and library systems that serve fewer than 50,000 people and at least 1Gbps for libraries and library systems that serve 50,000 people or more.
  2. Such projects could involve hardware purchases, including required servers, for initial installations and for existing installations that have been upgraded to the minimum required connectivity standards indicated in Number #1.

Coordinated Projects

Legislation passed in 2019 (Chapter 389 of the Laws of 2019) now allows for a library system to submit one or more Coordinated Project applications that include multiple library buildings within the same project. The library system is responsible for the overall management of these projects. Each member library building must be listed separately as part of the Coordinated Project application and an Excel file must be uploaded to the online portal detailing the library buildings involved in the project, the costs and recommended award. The Excel file is included in the Checklist on the main Construction webpage.

Each Coordinated Project application must be approved by the board of trustees of the library system and the board of trustees of each participating member library.

A member library building may only be included in ONE library system Coordinated Project application per funding year. If a member library had multiple buildings (a main building and branches), each building may be included in a library system Coordinated Project application.

A library building may only be included in ONE library system Coordinated Project Application per funding year. If a library or library system has multiple buildings (a main building and branches), each building may be included in a library system Coordinated Project Application. Library system Coordinated Projects are eligible for a maximum award of fifty percent of the total project approved costs. Match funds may be provided by local libraries and/or the library system or any combination thereof.

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Construction Project Narrative

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

Project Abstract: A brief description of the project, limited to 150 characters, must be provided. Please provide some level of detail for the project. For example, "Memorial Library Renovation" is not an appropriate project abstract.

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 funding period (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2024), 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 State Aid for Library Construction 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.

Budget Narrative: Provide a description of budget requests and vendor costs. Please associate the proposed vendor with the construction or renovation work and cost. Describe all items entered on the Project Budget pages. The Budget Narrative should reflect the Project Budget entries and attached quotes. If the vendor quotes contain options, the narrative must indicate those options and the associated dollar value.

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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.

Note: QUOTE DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED ONLY FOR PROJECT COSTS FOR WHICH FUNDING IS BEING REQUESTED.

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 be 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 aid 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 2021-2024 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, 2021.

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Certification of Available Funds to Finance Project

The law allows that State funding through the State Aid for Library Construction 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 allocated through the 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. A document must be uploaded for each entry on the Additional Funding Services document. There is a possibility that a project may be funded up to 90% for an eligible project in a "economically distressed" community, where the poverty rate for the library service area meets or exceeds the New York State rate and the library demonstrates that the community cannot afford to provide more than 10% of the match for the project.

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: The Additional Funding Services document must total the amount of the project minus the amount allocated by the system.

NOTE: Applicants do not receive the final 10% of their aid until the project is closed.

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 allocated amount before a final determination can be made. Such certification documents must be submitted as PDF attachments. Similarly, projects funded at less than 90% of funds must show certification of available funds to pay for the cost of the project, minus the allocation amount.

NOTE: SAM (State and Municipal Facilities Program) grants may not be used as matching funds.

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 including:

  1. Provide a detailed breakdown of all project costs regardless of whether or not they will be funded with aid proceeds. Indicate which costs are related to aid amounts.
  2. Provide the total dollar amount that is being bonded for the project.
  3. If BANS are issued a letter is required asserting that at the time BANS are converted to Bonds, the Bond issued for the project will be in an amount not to exceed the total cost of the project minus the aid.

Keep in mind that since the Construction Aid is funded with tax exempt bonds the only portion of the project that can be funded with bonds is the total cost of the project MINUS the amount of the aid that is being requested.

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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.

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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 State Aid for Library Construction 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. Plans should be submitted to OFP as soon as a project is identified.

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.

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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 document to determine if your project requires a SHPO approval.

*NOTE: new online submission process*

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

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Environmental Assessment Forms

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.

For more information, see Environmental Assessment 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.

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Municipal Consent for Site/Building Acquisition Projects

If a library is purchasing property (vacant land or a building), then provide documentation from the local municipality that the proposed use of the site/building that is being acquired is allowable according to local land use.

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.

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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 Estralita Cromartie-Collesides at the 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 State Library once a final aid amount has been determined. Proposed budget code amounts are completed online by the applicant. Please print the FS-10 forms from the online application.

NOTE: No activity changes can be made during the program activity period without the prior approval of NYSED.

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Payee Information Form / EIN

Each library must submit both a Payee Information Form PDF icon [155k] and a W-9 Form PDF icon [243k].
Please complete these forms per the instructions on the form.

NOTE: A substitute W-9 Form MUST be completed by ALL construction applicants, and it should be sent to your public library system, not directly to the State. The Payee Information Form is NOT submitted as a PDF attachment, but must be submitted with an original signature signed in blue ink to the library system, who will batch the payee forms from all approved applications and send them to Julia Maxwell at the New York State Library. Questions concerning the Payee Information Form should be directed to Julia Maxwell.

Instructions for Receiving an EIN and a Vendor Number

In order for a public library to apply for funding from the NY State Library’s State Aid for Library Construction Program, the library MUST have its own Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), which will enable the library to receive an NYS vendor number.  A public library MUST be assigned a NYS vendor number in order to receive construction aid.

The library must have its own EIN regardless if it currently shares its municipality’s EIN number for payroll or other purposes.

If the library does not have its own EIN, then the library needs to apply for one from the Internal Revenue Service. The library can apply for a new EIN online through the IRS websiteexternal link opens in a new window. A paper form can also be downloadedexternal link opens in a new window and mailed or faxed to the IRS.

If help is needed with the EIN process, the local IRS office should be contacted. IRS locatorexternal link opens in a new window

Once the library has its own EIN, the next step is to receive an NYS vendor number.

Julia Maxwell at the New York State Library will help the library complete the process for receiving an NYS vendor number. She can be contacted via e-mail or by calling 518-474-4734.

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DUNS numbers

If the library has a DUNS number, that number must be currently registered in the federal (NOT State) SAM system (www.sam.gov). If the library DOES NOT have a DUNS number, it does NOT need one to apply for construction aid.

Note for FY2021-2024 applications: In 2019, SAM, the federal system for registering DUNS numbers (needed on the Payee Information form IF AND ONLY IF the library already has one), began requiring a notarized letter in order to renew the number (apparently in response to fraudulent use of the system). We have been informed that the system is apparently backlogged, and libraries are not getting numbers renewed in a timely fashion. Libraries may still apply for construction aid if they do not receive a renewal by the time the applications are due. They should note on the Payee Information form that they have requested a renewal, and the State Library will accept that at the time of application. There is apparently an automatic update from SAM sent to the SED Grants Finance office on a regular basis, so when the numbers are renewed, the State Library will be notified.

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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.

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Building Photographs

Detailed photographs of the proposed construction project site are required to accompany each application. Pictures must be labeled, 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. It is preferred that all photos be submitted in one file, with each photo labeled, ideally as a Word document.

If floor plans, building elevations, maps or other drawings of the proposed activities are available, consider including these along with the photographs. These are helpful to staff who review the applications. They are not required.

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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 public 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.

Links to help determine economically disadvantaged communities:

Reduced Match Justification Form NOTE: This form is available online as part of the construction application and is filled out by the public library system for each of its member libraries and system applications.

Library systems should contact Frank Rees or Natalie McDonough with questions about the application deadlines, requirements and materials.

Additional State Funding for Economically Distressed Communities

A new law passed in 2019 (Chapter 381 of the Laws of 2019) allows for additional State funding up to 90% of the total project costs for a library serving economically distressed communities. This new law allocates to each library system a limited amount of funding to support such projects (funding is capped at 10% of the library system’s construction aid allocation). If a library’s application is selected by the system for State funding above 75%, the entire State-funded portion of the library’s project application must come from this capped system allotment of 10%. If a system does not use the entire 10% allotment to fund projects requesting over 75%, then those State funds may be used to support other library projects.

Libraries serving economically distressed communities must first meet all requirements to receive State funding at the 75% level. In order to be eligible for additional State funding beyond 75%, a library must meet these additional requirements:

  • The poverty rate of the library’s chartered service area must be equal to or greater than the New York State average poverty rate according to federal census data from the American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate Data Table S1701 (updated yearly). The State Library will determine if a library meets this requirement. Systems reviewing member library applications and considering allocating additional state funds above 75% to a project will request a poverty rate eligibility determination for the applicant library prior to the final submission of the project application to the State Library. Determinations made by the State Library are required each year that a library applies for aid; eligibility requirements change annually, which may result in a change from prior year determinations.
    • Prior to requesting a determination of eligibility, systems may use the link and charts provided below to find a preliminary poverty rate estimate based on the library’s chartered service area (see example for how to determine rate). If the official chartered service area cannot be determined by the system, the system’s search can be done using the library’s general service area. If that area seems to be within a range of 1-2% above or below the NYS population poverty rate, feel free to send a request to LD for determination of eligibility using the official chartered service area data after library has submitted an application to the library system.
      • Example: In 2020, the chartered service area of Sinclairville Free Library (Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System) was the town of Gerry (pop. 1560) and the town of Charlotte (pop. 1817). The population below poverty level was 97 and 387, respectively. The populations are added together to get the total population of the chartered service area (3377) and the total population below poverty level (484). The poverty rate of the chartered service area is then determined by dividing the total population below poverty level by the total population of the service area, which in this case equals 0.143, or 14.3% (484 / 3377 = 0.143 = 14.3%). This library did not qualify for 90/10 because the poverty rate was lower than the New York State poverty rate from the same chart (14.6%).
    • If the system has determined that the library is a possible candidate for the 90/10 program, library systems must contact Lisa DeNovio at Lisa.DeNovio@nysed.gov to request an official poverty rate eligibility determination well in advance of library system board review and approval of project applications/allocations and submission of the projects to the State Library, but after the library submits an application.
    • Please note: The New York State Library MUST approve eligibility for all 90/10 applicants. Poverty rate numbers determined by the system may vary from the data the State Library uses to make their determination, therefore system estimates may not always meet the eligibility requirements of Library Development. Requests for a determination of eligibility must be made by the system.
  • If the library meets the poverty rate requirement as determined by the State Library, then the project application must also:
    • demonstrate how the project will specifically address the service needs of one or more economically distressed communities within the library’s service area. Need may be based on such factors as poverty rates, English as a second language communities, education levels, low high school graduation rates, foreclosure rates, unemployment rates, free and reduced school lunch rates or other pertinent factors.
    • demonstrate that the library and its community lack the capacity to provide twenty-five percent of the project costs. Documentation of this lack of fiscal capacity must include facts about the economic/financial status of the library and its community. Such facts may include but are not limited to per capita local support; the lack of an economic engine in the community; the failure of a capital campaign; the loss of a major area employer; a small or poor tax base or other pertinent factors.

Please note: The library system must attach a copy of the criteria used to determine 75% reduced match status to the application of each library so identified.

Links to help determine economically distressed communities:

Library systems should contact Frank Rees or Natalie McDonough with questions about the application deadlines, requirements and materials.

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M/WBE

M/WBE participation is currently not required as a condition of the 2021-2024 State Aid for Library Construction Program. As always, libraries and library systems should comply with their local procurement processes, including any local M/WBE requirements that exist.

Although not a current requirement for State Aid for Library Construction applicants are encouraged to consider M/WBE participation. Information on M/WBE

Additional information and a listing of currently certified M/WBEsexternal link (A search box will open in a pop-up window.)

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Last Updated: July 23, 2021--sm