Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Our public libraries need our help!

Message from one of our neighbors and readers:

"Like many of you, my family and I are frequent visitors to our neighborhood library -- in our case, the Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, on Union and Clinton Streets. We can't say enough good things about what a fantastic resource it is - for books and music and DVDs, for research materials, for free children's and family programs, and much much more. And in this tough economy, library use is at a record high -- the New York Public Library reports 17.5 million visitors over the past year -- as people take advantage of libraries' job search services, free Internet access, and classes teaching new skills.

But as you may know, the city's three library systems (Queens, Brooklyn, and NYPL) are facing a devastating 22% budget cut proposed by Mayor Bloomberg. According to Library Journal this would mean 943 employees laid off, a big cut in the materials budget, and a severe reduction in hours, including the elimination of weekend service at many branches. I've spoken to one of the children's librarians at the Carroll Gardens library, who said the branch faces staff layoffs and would reduce service to just 5 hours a day on weekdays.

More details of the proposed cuts here:

Here is how each library system would be affected, according to their websites:

Brooklyn Public Library:
- faces $17.5 million in budget cuts
- eliminate as many as 272 positions (1 out of every 4 full-time employees)
- reduce service to 5 days a week at most neighborhood libraries, with limited or no weekend hours
- buy 185,000 FEWER books, DVDs, and CDs

New York Public Library:
- faces $28.2 million in budget cuts
- no more six- and seven-day service (most would go down to 4 or 5)
- reduce average weekly hours from 52 to 32
- eliminate thousands of programs for children
- 3.4 million FEWER visits (680,000 from children/young people)
- 5 million FEWER circulated materials

Queens Library:
- has sustained $5.6 million in cuts and is facing $11.8 million more in cuts this year
- lose 6-day service, which they fought so hard to restore
- every library closed all weekend long
- some libraries with less than 5 days of service
- all programs and services (including after-school and ESOL programs) reduced
- fewer books, DVDs, and other library materials available

The City Council must approve the proposed budget cuts by June 30. If your local library is important to you, please consider going to ALL of the following links to make a donation and to send a message to your elected officials. Let them know we expect them to stand up for our libraries!

Brooklyn Public Library
Send a message: https://bpl.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/adv/helpus.aspx
Donate: http://brooklynpubliclibrary.org/support/shelves/

New York Public Library
Donate and/or send a message: http://www.nypl.org/donate/

Queens Library
Donate and/or send a message: http://www.savequeenslibrary.org/

1 comment:

Andrea V. said...

Thank you, Word on Columbia Street. The community needs to know what might happen if this proposed budget cut is approved.