State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) and state Representatives Lonnie Reed (D-Branford) and Noreen Kokoruda (R-Madison) announced today that the State Bond Commission has approved $1 million grants for both the James Blackstone Memorial Library in Branford and the E.C. Scranton Memorial Library in Madison to help cover the cost of renovations and expansions at the two libraries.

The State Bond Commission approved the library bonding at its meeting this morning in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Sen. Kennedy and Reps. Reed and Kokoruda are longtime supporters of the libraries and have advocated the Malloy administration for the release of state bond funds.

“I see our public libraries as the soul of our communities, as places for people to come together not to sit in silence, but to share and learn in a vibrant and exciting social atmosphere,” Sen. Kennedy said. “These state grants will help Blackstone and Scranton achieves that mission.”

“The Blackstone Library is a center for community life, and this construction bond will help fund an addition to provide much-needed spaces especially designed for teenagers and children,” Rep. Reed said. “The new wing will host ongoing education programs and also make our library much more accessible to people with disabilities. I am grateful to the governor and the Bond Commission for their support.”

“The E.C. Scranton Memorial Library is a historic building and integral part of our Madison community. I commend the Scranton Memorial Library Board of Directors for going back to the drawing board and then waiting patiently to be able to move their expansion plans forward. These funds will be used to fulfill their much-needed improvement goals,” said State Representative Noreen Kokoruda. “I want to thank the state of Connecticut for working with the library in an effort of improving the quality of life for Madison residents of all ages. In the future, I hope that Madison voters will join me in supporting this important historic asset.”

The James Blackstone Memorial Library expansion and renovation costs are expected to top $5 million, of which the state aid will cover about 20 percent of the cost. The E.C. Scranton Memorial Library expansion and renovation costs are expected to top $13 million, of which the state aid will cover about 7 percent of the cost.

“The Branford community makes great use of the Blackstone library, with over 11,000 registered cardholders and nearly 600 visitors daily,” said Blackstone Memorial Library Director Karen Jensen. “The $1 million state grant will support a $5.2 million project that will make the building more accessible and adapt the interior to accommodate 21st century technology and community needs, based on best practices and emerging library trends.”

“This additional million dollars that Senator Kennedy and Representative Kokorouda were able to procure for us is such a surprise and so welcome,” said Scranton Memorial

Library Director Beth Crowley. “This will be great for our own fundraising initiative, and it means so much to the community to have this show of support from the state.”

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