LITTLE VALLEY — Little Valley’s Memorial Library has received a $25,000 Bullet Aid grant to build a pavilion next to its parking lot.
The new structure will allow the library to host outdoor programs weather permitting, and the community will also take advantage of it. Director Linda McCubbin said the library has been in dire need of an outdoor shelter for some time.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, McCubbin said her limited indoor space isn’t big enough for social distancing programs. She said that when the weather is nice, employees need a place to host programs, activities and fundraisers.
According to the New York State Library Association, the 2020 state budget allocated $23 million in aid to education funding and public library support. Funds were provided jointly by the State Senate, the Assembly and the Governor.
All public libraries in upstate New York were eligible to apply for the Bullet Aid grant. McCubbin said the state wanted to provide funding for something that every library felt was necessary due to the pandemic but couldn’t afford financially.
McCubbin said she received a letter from Rep. Joseph Giglio’s office, R-Gowanda, last April offering funding for bullet aid to libraries. In early May, she submitted a bullet aid request to build a pavilion and was notified in July that the library would receive funding.
“During and after the pandemic, an outdoor pavilion will give us more flexibility and space for activities, particularly our summer reading program for children,” she said. “It will allow us to host arts and crafts, summer readings, spring planting projects, films and outdoor community activities.”
McCubbin said she received the $25,000 bullet-aid check from the state on Dec. 20. Duane Smith of S&S General Contracting in Cattaraugus offered her $25,825 to build the pavilion. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-winter.
The building will measure 18 feet by 36 feet and will be attached to the parking lot, McCubbin said. It will have a concrete floor, have electricity and be handicapped accessible. There will be picnic tables for people to sit and work or eat at. She said they hope to have removable sides to provide protection in inclement weather.
Before receiving that grant, employees wanted to try to maintain a tent for summer activities and fundraisers, McCubbin said. Now library patrons and other community members have a safe and convenient place to enjoy outdoor events and activities.
“The pavilion will be wonderful for outdoor programs. We will not be in the sun and will be protected from bad weather,” she said. “It will give us a protected space for our programs, fundraising, concerts and crafts. The community and organizations will also use the pavilion, but to avoid conflict they must reserve the building.”
McCubbin said the Friends of the Library will purchase an eight-camera perimeter security system for the library so they can video monitor the entire exterior of the building.
“I am really looking forward to the pavilion because it will protect us from the sun and rain. It will be nice to have a covered area,” she said. “We’re hoping that some of our larger companies in our hometown will donate things like memorial benches and tables.”
It’s been a tough few years for the library. The library was inundated by heavy rains in July 2019 and the doors remained closed to the public until November. McCubbin said the COVID-19 pandemic closed its doors again in March 2020. They opened for curbside pickup and limited service in late June of that year, returning to full service a month later.
“Despite the reopening, the public has been reluctant to return to the library and it has been difficult to schedule program presenters,” she said. “Our mission to support the community has been at risk for nearly two years, and our fundraising efforts have also been significantly impacted.”
McCubbin said they are eager to return to full programming and fundraising, and are implementing plans for more extensive outreach to improve their client base.