Libraries in the Southern Tier are getting a makeover. Thanks to the $14 million Library Construction Grant Program, more than $250,000 are going toward renovations at Chemung and Steuben County libraries. And it comes at a perfect time, because as our Lara Greenberg tells us, library cards are getting more action than they have in a while.
ELMIRA, N.Y. -- These days, people are coming to the library for the same reasons as Nacole Kachuroi.
"Probably go upstairs and search the web for other jobs and listings for apartments," said Kachuroi of Elmira.
She spent the day filling out job applications and looking for work.
The fact of the matter is libraries aren't just for books anymore. They're also for Internet access and computer training. And in the current economy, library use is on the rise, thanks to free internet access, resources and resume training.
"Our circulation is up seven percent. In fact, the Van Etten branch has an increase of 22 percent for the first quarter," said Chemung County Library District Director Ronald Shaw.
And with more people, these libraries have more needs. Earlier this week, legislators announced more than $250,000 would be coming to Chemung and Steuben County libraries.
Steele Memorial will use its $46,000 to renovate the handicap accessible areas and build a new computer lab.
"It seems like we always get a lot of people asking for it. The problem we have is we've got the 20 computers upstairs, but they're always being used by the people who are on the internet," said Shaw.
Officials say the construction projects will allow the library to evolve to keep up with new technology and people's needs. So users like Kachuroi can do what they need to.
"If you don't have your own home and you don't have the money to get online, it's great that there's a library available with those sources," said Kachuroi.
Savona Free Library got the most money in the Southern Tier, almost $75,000. Southeast Steuben County Library in Corning got $50,000, which they put toward a renovated community room for the hearing impaired.