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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 my neighborhood without my library and everything it offers. Libraries serve as true cornerstones of communities across New York City.

Our libraries are an essential resource for patrons of all ages—especially for working families and other struggling New Yorkers. Not only are libraries the place to go for books, information, and community events, they are also on the front lines of tackling inequality.

  • Libraries provide free resources to low-income New Yorkers, including after-school programs, job-search assistance, skills-building classes for all ages, small business help, and vital Internet access and other tools to close the digital divide.
  • Libraries reach immigrant communities with classes for English language learners, citizenship assistance, free legal services, and access to IDNYC.

Yet, over the past decade, City funding for libraries has been cut by nearly 20% and library staff has been reduced by nearly 1,000 workers. At the same time, demand for libraries has never been higher. Circulation is up 34%, attendance at programs and classes has more than doubled, and libraries receive more visits than all local sports teams and City-owned cultural institutions combined.

It’s time to reverse years of neglect and provide appropriate funding for libraries. That means:

  • Including in the City’s 10-Year Capital Strategy the $1.4 billion in capital funding our libraries desperately need for critical renovations and maintenance
  • Restoring $65 million in operating expenses for libraries in this year’s City Budget to provide the programs and services New Yorkers demand and expect from their local branches

I know you’ve been champions of libraries in the past. We’re counting on you to make the capital and operating investments needed to ensure we don’t close the book on New York City’s libraries and the millions of New Yorkers who rely on them.