NYC library leaders rally against $58.3 million in budget cuts

The library leaders made it clear that they not only want the budget restored, but increased with stable funding to continue providing essential services.

Edric Robinson

May 21, 2024, 5:23 PM

Updated 23 days ago

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Library heads from Brooklyn, Queens and the New York Public Library, along with staff and supporters, gathered on the steps of City Hall demanding the restoration of their budgets. They are urging the city to restore $58.3 million in funding.
"This is the fourth year that we have sustained budget cuts in a row, and each time it happens, we absorb them to the best we can," said Linda Johnson, president of the Brooklyn Public Library. "There comes a point where it is no longer possible to sustain the level of service that New Yorkers deserve."
Ahead of a joint hearing with City Council members, the three leaders each highlighted the severe impacts these cuts have already had. This includes the elimination of Sunday hours and the potential loss of Saturday hours if cuts go through.
"We’ve stopped hiring basically for the last year. The staff of the library, the librarians, everyone — they are the lifeblood. If we can’t hire, we can’t do what we’re here to do and what New Yorkers depend on us to do. That means story time gets canceled, teen centers can’t open, temporary branch closures," said Anthony Marx, president of the New York Public Library.
In a statement, a City Hall spokesperson emphasized the administration's commitment to fiscal responsibility, stating, "We have protected the city’s library systems from multiple rounds of cuts and invested $15 million in their teen centers." The spokesperson highlighted that the budget was balanced without layoffs, tax hikes, or major service disruptions, despite a $7.2 billion budget gap.
"The mayor loves libraries, we know that. We’ve worked closely with him, we know he has hard choices to make. It’s time to stop the budget dance and invest in the libraries, which cost a fraction of the budget," Marx added.
The library leaders made it clear that they not only want the budget restored, but increased with stable funding to continue providing essential services.


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