​NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — ​Expanded broadband and technology access is coming to the Niagara Falls Public Library.

Over $210,000 in grant money will fund new equipment for the library.

"Books are half of our story," Niagara Falls Public Library Director Sara Potwin said. "We, like many libraries, are evolving our services to meet our citizen's needs. Unique services such as passport acceptance and notary services, scanning, ebook downloads, computer literacy training are some of the many services available to citizens....all for free. Our efforts to lessen the lack of accessibility to Wi-Fi services are small, but the need is great as has been illustrated during this time of COVID."

Public officials highlighted the announcement at the opening of the library's "maker space" Friday. The library was awarded more than $130,000 to purchase 200 Chromebooks and 200 Wi-Fi spots.

"In today’s world, connectivity to the internet is an absolute must for individuals to further their careers, access critical community services, and most importantly help educate their children," said Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt. "The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important internet access is to our daily lives. Niagara Falls Public Library is doing its part to help address this lack of broadband access in our community, and with the help of over $210,000 in broadband and technology funding, it will now be able to deliver this critical resource to those in our community, especially our children who need it the most."

Those will be available as a loan from the Main and LaSalle library branches to library card holders.

"This will be a space for Niagara Falls citizens to learn new computer tech skills, participate in the maker movement, and be creative using both high tech as well as soft arts to craft. The ultimate goal is to offer connectivity access to Wi-Fi technology that our citizens might not otherwise have," City of Niagara Falls Mayor Restaino said.

Money came from the American Library Association COVID Tech Relief Grant and the Grace Foundation.