$500,000 grant will help improve and expand Shippensburg Public Library
The library applied in October for the maximum grant provided by the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund to supplement its capital campaign, said Susan Sanders, the library’s executive director. Officials were thrilled to learn Thursday of their successful efforts.
Sanders read a prepared statement from the library’s Board of Trustees President Jo Anne Coy: “I am elated that our dire need for funding was recognized by the commonwealth. It’s fantastic for our patrons and our community.”
The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund supports improvements to Pennsylvania communities, including libraries. The library grant must be used for capital improvement projects.
Shippensburg was one of 15 libraries in the state that got part of $3.7 million in grant money. Five got the maximum amount.
With the grant, the library has about two-thirds of the $6.6 million needed for construction and updating, Sanders said. It can be used to pay up to half of eligible costs in the planning, acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of public libraries.
The $500,000 grant will pay for three parts of the capital project, Sanders said. One is the installation of an elevator required for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It will also cover upgrades to heating and air conditioning and upgrades to electrical and fire alarm systems.
The grant has an 18-month limit that will force the project to get started, several years after the capital campaign began.
“We hope to get started by this summer. There are a few more things that need to fall into place for this to happen, but this helps us get there so it’s very encouraging.”
Twenty-eight libraries applied for the competitive grant. A committee evaluated applicants on priorities, including economically distressed communities, ADA compliance projects, energy efficiency, building additions and new construction.
Applicants had to prove they could match the amount of money asked for. The library already had several million dollars to work with thanks to capital campaign fundraising.
State Rep. Rob Kauffman, R- Chambersburg; Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Chambersburg; Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland; and former U.S. Rep Todd Platts helped the library meet a requirement for support from local lawmakers, Sanders said.
The goal of the capital campaign is $8.1 million. The $1.5 million difference will pay for the land the library will expand upon and the additional operating costs that will come with expanded facility.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 262-4771.