By Mark Reynolds
Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson secured $10,000 for the Sarah Hull Hallock Free Library in Milton that will be used to install new LED energy efficient lighting, with a design that will be in keeping with the era of the original library.
Jacobson said he loves to help libraries financially, “because you get the biggest bang for your buck when you give to a library; it’s more direct, is not a huge bureaucracy and the entire public is appreciative.”
Jacobson said the funding came from a discretionary account through the Legislature from the State Education Department, a circuitous path that took about a year to procure.
“This kind of money has to go for capital improvements, it can’t go for salaries or for day to day expenses,” Jacobson said.
Jacobson recalled that, “when school budgets were having problems getting cash a few years ago, library budgets passed easily.” He noted that in the state budget for next year, there is more aid available for libraries throughout New York.
“Libraries are not just books anymore; they help people of all ages with all kinds of things. They have computers and there is information from the whole community here in one spot,” he said.
The annual operating budget for the Milton library is $152,500, with additional grants helping to fund their capital projects. Presently, the library annex is being renovated, the first significant work done in the building since 1990.
Library Director Lois Skelly said new carpets are being installed, the walls are being painted and a new custom-made circulation desk will be located near the entrance to the annex room.
The annex section will become the children’s area, which is being designed with more open space for their activities and will provide comfortable reading space.
“It really will improve things,” Skelly said, adding that during the renovation the books were put in a pod outside and some brought downstairs.
Rosemary Wein, President of the Library Board of Trustees, said Jacobson has secured money for the library in the past.
“With a past grant of another $10,000 we installed a ventilation system, at a cost of $6,400, and the rest went to fix other HVAC things that were breaking down in the community room,” she said, noting that, “It is really important for safety and health.”
Jacobson remarked that, “all state agencies should be as efficient with money as this library has been,” with Wein adding that, “we try to be good stewards of the money we get for our operating budget but also with all of our grants; we really do not do anything frivolous.”
Wein pointed out that the Milton library, “is an historic library” that has been in existence since 1887, and we are very cognizant of our heritage and we want to keep it going forward.”
The Library has initiated an Engraved Brick Fundraiser, and bricks may be purchased on line at bricksrus.com/donorsite/miltonlibrary. The bricks will be laid down in an alcove area in-front of the library.