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We Believe in Literacy for All


This post is part of a series where we review what has happened at The New York Public Library in 2017.

We believe in literacy for all

The New York Public Library has been a vital center for reading and literacy education for all ages since its founding. Today, we are more committed than ever to ensuring that all students, regardless of age, income, or birthplace, have the same opportunity to achieve their dreams.

Helping All Kids Succeed

Over the past year, the Library was particularly invested in making sure all young patrons have equal access to the tools they need for school success. This fall, NYPL teamed up with Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library to forgive all outstanding fines on all kids’ and teens’ library cards across the city.

Fine forgiveness graphic

This initiative, made possible by The JPB Foundation, enabled us to forgive fines on 400,000 youth NYPL cards. Among them, 75,000 of the youth cards had been blocked due to fines—but can now be used to check out our invaluable free resources once again.

Another critical area of investment has been in our ongoing expansion of early literacy services—both within our branches and beyond. In FY17, the Library attracted more than 747,000 early literacy attendees, more than twice the number of young children and families served over the prior year. In addition, we are scaling our enhanced programs to 86 locations—nearly every NYPL branch—while expanding our outreach services. This includes story times and workshops at preschools, daycares, and homeless shelters, ensuring free access to school readiness resources for all children.

More People Reading More

“I skipped three grade levels of reading thanks to the Library.”

— Khadija, first-generation college student, Westchester Square Library, Bronx

These efforts in early literacy have had a major impact in another key area: circulation. As the Library has expanded its children’s initiatives and attracted more schools and families to our programs, we have sparked a surge in children’s circulation.

This increase, combined with additional upticks in teen and adult circulation, has contributed to an overall growth in print circulation of nearly 7 percent. The Library is particularly proud of this accomplishment because it reverses a nationwide trend in print circulation at libraries, as e-book circulation continues to grow.


This holiday season, The New York Public Library has a big goal: We're raising $530,670 to ensure that all neighborhood branches can offer the free materials, educational programs, and classes that people depend on. We need your help to raise these essential funds—will you donate today? Every dollar helps. Thank you for supporting our libraries and the people they serve.


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