By Victoria Merlino
With Mayor Bill de Blasio proposing millions of dollars in cuts to the city’s three library systems, including the Queens Public Library, library leaders and supporters gathered at City Hall on Tuesday to warn of the reduction of services that would accompany the cuts.
Cuts to funding would include reducing programming, cuts to weekend hours, smaller collections and delayed revitalization projects. Libraries are also not included in City Hall’s 10-year capital plan, and the three city library systems are asking for $150 million to compensate, and to help with ongoing building maintenance.
“Our city’s public library systems need more funding to keep up with rising costs and demands,” said City Councilmember and Chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, Jimmy Van Bramer, in a statement. Van Bramer represents Sunnyside, Astoria, Long Island City and Woodside. “It is undemocratic to propose cuts for libraries at a time of such great need. I will continue to fight any attempt to diminish library services in our communities.”
The #InvestInLibraries campaign has been underway since 2015, with the city’s three library systems successfully advocating for additional funding to remedy aging infrastructure issues.
“Libraries are the great equalizers in our society, and the most-equipped vehicle to a fairer and stronger City,” said QPL President Dennis Walcott in a statement.
“We need increased funding, not less. We need additional dollars to maintain our current level of service, meet rising costs, repair and upgrade our aging buildings and provide the collections and programs our customers deserve and expect. Cutting the budgets of libraries will undermine our commitment to opportunity for all New Yorkers,” he continued