NEW YORK, NY, June 1, 2011 -- Hundreds of library lovers, joined by library supporters in the City Council, rallied on the steps of City Hall on May 26 to push back on proposed budget cuts to Queens Library.
Leading the rally was Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, chairman of the Council Committee on Cultural Affairs & Libraries. Speakers included council member Vincent Gentile, chairman of the Council Subcommittee on Libraries; council member Leroy Comrie, Queens Delegation Leader; and Local 1321 President John Hyslop. They all expressed their support and admiration for the value that Queens Library adds to the community.
"New Yorkers deserve well-funded libraries," said council member Jimmy Van Bramer (D- 26th District). "Throughout the five boroughs, libraries are an integral part of our education system, providing adult literacy programs and countless educational opportunities for children. The proposed cuts are the most severe our public libraries have ever seen and would have a devastating effect on quality of life across the City of New York. I will continue to work with colleagues in the City Council, advocates, and community leaders to restore as much of this vital funding as possible."
"Continuing to fund local libraries means we continue to believe in the future of New York City, the literacy of its children, the strength of its neighborhoods and the importance of technology in every person's quality of life. I believe the Mayor and City Council must pass a budget that keeps one eye on today's financial needs and another on the brightness of the city's future, and only a budget the maintains our present library resources and access can accomplish that," said council member Vincent Gentile.
"The City Council is committed to protecting our libraries," said councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., chairman of the Finance Committee. "Cutting libraries would be devastating for communities, because it would mean job losses, as well as the loss of programs important to New Yorkers, like after-school activities and services for people seeking employment. We intend to fight to ensure our libraries across New York City get the support they need."
New York City's Executive Budget calls for a cut to Queens Library of $25.3 million in FY '12. It would mean reducing library service to the lowest levels ever; lower than the fiscal crises of the 1970s and 1990s or even the Great Depression.
- Layoff of 471 staff who provide critical information services to the community
- 48 libraries would be closed four or five days per week
- Only 13 libraries would be open five days per week, Monday through Friday
- Central Library would be the only library open on Saturdays
- No Sunday library service in Queens at all
- People in Queens would have HALF the access to borrow materials, use computers, attend programs, get homework help, ask for job information, and other important library services.
Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. Queens Library serves a population of 2.3 million in the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S. With 23 million items in circulation for FY 2010, the Library has among the highest circulations of any public library system in the world. For more information about programs, services, locations, events, and news, visit the Queens Library website at www.queenslibrary.org or call 718-990-0700.