Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker has announced $2.5 million in capital budget redevelopment assistance for construction of the Centre Region Public Library in Centre County.
The state funding will be used to build a 38,577-sq.-ft., two-story facility at the corner of Beaver and Allen streets in State College, replacing the current Schlow Memorial Library at the site.
"Libraries play such an important role for Pennsylvanians, young and old alike, and increasingly serve as a symbol of their communities," Schweiker said. "The Schlow Memorial Library has had a long and proud history of providing library services to the Centre Region. The library has faced increasing challenges because the demand for its services has grown significantly, but the room to provide them has not kept pace.
"Today, the state becomes a partner in helping to provide a bigger and better library, one that will serve as an important resource for communities throughout the region.
"I want to thank the General Assembly for supporting this worthwhile project, which will provide significant benefits to the region and help us continue to build a new Pennsylvania."
Commenting on the announcement, Dan Hawbaker, campaign chair of the Library and Library Board president, said, "Our thanks to Gov. Schweiker, Sen. Jake Corman, and Rep. Lynn Herman, as well as to the Governor’s staff that worked with us throughout this process. This is a tremendous lift to our library building fund program. Including the grant, pledges, cash and the commitment from the Centre Region municipalities, our total is very close to $8 million."
The new library will have expanded lobby and circulation areas, increased shelving for library collections, and a flexible design to accommodate new technology and changes in library materials and services.
It also will include a large children’s library with increased space for multimedia computers, art displays and a play area; a comfortable waiting area for parents; a quiet study area; and a special children’s storytime and activity room.
Additionally, the new library will have specific areas for young adults, new books and media collections; increased space for computers and an expanded computer-training lab; and wide handicapped-accessible aisles.
Schlow Library is a tax-supported institution, funded in large part by the Centre Region municipalities of State College Borough and College, Ferguson, Harris and Patton townships. Halfmoon Township will become the sixth funding partner in 2003.
Other public funds for the operating budget come from Centre County and the state through the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries, a partnership of Schlow Library and the Centre County Library.
The number of books and other items checked out at Schlow has grown from 297,000 in 1986 to more than 500,000 in 2001. Thirty-three thousand people hold current library cards, and more than 700 people, on average, visit the library each day.
The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a state grant program for the acquisition and construction of economic, cultural or civic improvement projects. The General Assembly must authorize funding for projects before they can be considered by the Governor. Since 1985, more than $1.8 billion in redevelopment assistance funds have helped to leverage more than $4.1 billion in local matching funds. Projects range from museums, zoos, theaters and cultural centers to airports, convention centers and industrial parks.