Schenectady County Breaks Ground on New Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Family Literacy Center

Schenectady County Breaks Ground on New Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Family Literacy Center

For Immediate Release:
    Joe McQueen
June 24, 2015
(518) 388-4772


Schenectady County Breaks Ground on New

Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Family Literacy Center

(Schenectady, NY)  Schenectady County officials were joined today by members of the Schenectady County Public Library Board of Trustees and members of the community for a ground breaking ceremony starting the construction of the 4,950 sq. ft. Phyllis Bornt Library Branch and Family Literacy Center.

“This really is a great day for the residents of Schenectady County, especially our families who will soon have a new library branch with exciting programs that will help to improve family literacy,” said Tony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature.

The development of a Family Literacy Center within a new branch library is part of the County Library’s Restructuring Action Plan that was developed by the Library Board of Trustees and Schenectady County, with input from the Friends of the Library, Library Staff, and County residents.

“Schenectady County is extremely proud of our library system and has created an action plan that positions us for success in the future,” said Legislator Holly Vellano, Chair of the County Legislature’s Committee on Libraries and Education.  “Through our research and discussions within the community it became very clear that improved family literacy can have a dramatic impact on the educational success of our children and the economic health of our community.”

“On behalf of the Library Board of Trustees, I am proud of the work we have done in creating this plan,” said Cheryl Cufari, President of the Library Board of Trustees. “I thank the Schenectady County Legislature for their commitment to, and investment in, this project and I applaud the work of our Building Committee.”

The new Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Family Literacy Center is designed to be used by families and children with wide variety of programs, including those for job seekers who need to upgrade literacy skills to find employment.The library is named for Ms. Phyllis Bornt, a former County librarian who left a bequest to the County to support branch libraries. The focus on literacy is part of a community-wide effort involving the County, City, City School District, the Schenectady Foundation, the Wright Family Foundation and others to equip every member of the community with solid reading, writing and digital literacy skills.

Schenectady County previously announced that Family Dollar will build a new 8,300 square foot store at 954 State Street in Schenectady next to the new branch library and Family Literacy Center.  The two projects are being built on a former vacant lot that was purchased by the County. The new facilities will be a boost to neighborhood revitalization efforts in the Hamilton Hill and Vale neighborhoods in Schenectady.

“We are excited to take this next step in moving our Family Literacy Center forward,” said Legislator Gary Hughes, Chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Economic Development and Planning.  “The creation of the Family Literacy Center will not only help our families acquire solid reading, writing, financial and digital skills, but is a catalyst for continuing additional development on Upper State Street and the surrounding neighborhood.”

The County and Library staff collaborated to secure an NYS Education Department grants for $200,000 and the Library Board of Trustees has authorized the use of funds from a bequest left by former County Librarian Phyllis Bornt to support the development of the County library branches. In total, $1.375 million from the County and the Bornt bequest have been committed towards the construction of the library branch.  The Wright Family Foundation has also provided a grant for $75,000.

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