GROTON, N.Y. — The Groton Public Library is growing. A planned 2,000-square-foot expansion will provide more space for programs.

Senator James Seward and Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton visited the library Friday to announce they had each nominated the library for a $350,000 State Assistance to Municipalities Grant, totaling $700,000.

The board of trustees has committed to a 2,000 square-foot expansion behind the existing building on 112 E. Cortland St.

The new large space will fill the need for children’s programs, youth and teen programs, author visits, and allow the library to rededicate the front of the library to a quiet reading area, Sheri Shurtleff, board president, said in a statement.

“It gives me great pleasure to have nominated the Groton Library’s expansion project for a state grant,” Lifton said at the event Friday. “The library has seen a dramatic increase in visitors recently, and this expansion will help accommodate that growth, as well as expanded programming for children, teens, and author visits for people of all ages. I especially want to thank Executive Director Sara Knobel for her work in shaping the library into a true community center, as seen in her efforts to collaborate with the Food Bank of Southern Tier and other services that provide food and meal planning services to members of the Groton community. Libraries have become critical safety-net institutions in our communities, and the Groton Library’s expansion is an acknowledgment that they are committed to continuing this important work.”

The board has contracted Holmes, King, Kallquist & Associates, Architects, LLP, of Syracuse for the expansion. Preliminary designs are currently underway and they will need approval from the board. And after, there is a lengthy review process by the state before the project can move forward, a news release said.

The total project will cost about $975,000. The board has committed $125,000 from reserve funds, and the Friends of the Groton Public Library has launched a campaign to raise $150,000 for the library. So far, they have raised over $90,000. An anonymous donor has offered a challenge grant of $30,000 to match all donations received or pledged by Sept. 30, the library said.

The board said they are hopeful for final approvals by spring and for construction to be underway by summer 2019.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.