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Tell the City to support NYC Libraries

Over the past decade, City funding for public libraries has been slashed by nearly 20 percent and library staff has been reduced by over one thousand workers. Yet demand for libraries – our books, programs, and services – has never been higher. Frankly, New York City libraries are struggling.

Tell Mayor de Blasio, the Speaker and City Council that we must invest in our libraries. Speak out today to help reverse years of neglect and give our library systems the funding they need.

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Dear Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito,

I don’t like to imagine what my neighborhood would be like without my library. They serve as true cornerstones of communities in all five boroughs in New York City.

Our libraries are an essential resource for all New Yorkers, especially working families. They are not only the place to go for books, information, and meeting space, but they are also on the front lines of tackling inequality.

  • Libraries provide critical free resources to low-income New Yorkers, including enriching after-school programs, job search assistance for teens and adults, skills building classes, resources for small businesses, vital access to the internet and other tools for closing the digital divide.
  • Libraries reach immigrant communities with classes for English language learners, citizenship assistance, free legal services, and access to IDNYC.

Unfortunately, over the past decade, City funding for public libraries has been slashed by nearly 20 percent and library staff has been reduced by over one thousand workers. At the same time demand for libraries has never been higher. Circulation is up by 59 percent and attendance has surged by 40 percent. New York City libraries are struggling to deliver more programs and services with less and less funding.

It’s time to reverse years of neglect and appropriately fund our library system. That means:

  • Placing the $1.1 billion in capital funding for critical renovations and maintenance into the City’s Ten-Year Capital Strategy
  • Including a $65 million increase in operating expenses in this year’s budget to provide the programs and services New Yorkers demand and expect from their local branches.

I know you’ve been a champion for libraries in the past. We’re counting on you to make the capital and operating investments needed to turn the page for the New York City library system.