MAY 29 – The city’s three library systems are holding two rallies in each borough on June 1 to urge the city to restore $65 million in operating funding to libraries, as well as invest $1.4 billion in capital funding over 10 years.
The “Citywide Day of Action” by Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library and Queens Library is part of the Invest In Libraries campaign calling on the city to fully fund this critical community resource, which in Fiscal Year 2014 received more visits than all of New York City’s sports teams and city-funded cultural organizations combined.
With the restored operating funding, libraries could offer more hours, hire more librarians, and offer citywide six-day service. A mere three percent of NYC's 217 libraries are open seven days a week; only about two-thirds are open at least six days— meaning fewer working families with access to the library's free resources on the days when they need them. Amongst the top 10 largest cities in the United States, New York City is eighth in terms of library hours; it is ninth amongst the top 10 largest counties in New York State.
Two rallies are happening at Brooklyn branches normally closed on Mondays due to budget cuts, highlighting the need for more hours.
The $1.4 billion in capital funding over 10 years would allow the libraries to address critical maintenance needs and repairs at all of their branches that has been caused by decades of inadequate capital funding. While Mayor de Blasio – for the first time in recent memory – added libraries to the 10-year capital plan in his executive budget with a $300 million allocation, libraries are hoping for more to fully address their needs.
The schedule of rallies – which will include staff and dedicated patrons – is as follows:
- Bushwick Library, 340 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, 10 am: Resume building and job training workshop with New York City Council Member Antonio Reynoso. This branch is normally closed on Mondays because of budget cuts.
- Laurelton Library, 134-26 225 Street , Queens, 10 am: Rally with staff, patrons, and elected officials. This branch is open only five days.
- Coney Island Library, 1901 Mermaid Avenue, Brooklyn, 11 am: Outdoor Story Time for neighborhood children with New York City Council Member Mark Treyger. This branch is also normally closed on Mondays because of budget cuts.
- Parkchester Library, 1985 Westchester Avenue, The Bronx, 11 am: Rally, letter-writing, and outdoor story time with patrons, program leaders, staff, and the NYPL Lion.
- St. George Library, 5 Central Ave, Staten Island, 11 am: Outdoor rally and letter-writing with patrons, program leaders, and staff.
- Seward Park Library, 192 East Broadway, Manhattan, Noon: Outdoor rally and program with Leroy the Hudson Park Library mascot (a puppet).
- Edenwald Library, 1255 E 233rd St, The Bronx, 3 pm: Outdoor rally and letter-writing with patrons, program leaders and staff.
- New Dorp Library, 309 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, 3 pm: Outdoor rally and letter-writing with patrons, staff, and the active Teen Advisory Group for the branch.
- Washington Heights, 1000 St. Nicholas Avenue, Manhattan, 3 pm: Outdoor rally and letter-writing with patrons, staff, and program leaders.
- Astoria Library, 14-01 Astoria Boulevard, Queens, 4 pm: Rally with staff, patrons, and elected officials. This branch is open only five days.
New Yorkers should visit their local branches or investinlibraries.org to write letters to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council asking for adequate funding for libraries. So far, over 65,000 letters have been sent, and authors such as Judy Blume and Junot Diaz have shared their support.
New York Public Library
Angela Montefinise | firstname.lastname@example.org
Brooklyn Public Library
Emma Woods | email@example.com
Joanne King | firstname.lastname@example.org