May 6, 2010—The most severe budget cut ever faced by The New York Public Library was announced on May 6 as part of the Mayor's Executive Budget. "The proposed cut of $36,800,000 is even worse than the cuts to the Library in the 1970s, when New York was on the brink of bankruptcy," Library President Paul LeClerc said.
"If funding is not restored we will be forced to drastically reduce critical library services for New Yorkers. Ten libraries would have to close; those that remain open would have their hours reduced to an average of just 4 days per week. The cut would also result in the loss of 736 staff positions--36% of our workforce. Today record numbers of New Yorkers are relying on their libraries for free job information, Internet access, computer classes, business information, after-school programs, and much more. This budget would force us to reduce or eliminate services at the time they are needed most. That's why we look forward to working with the City Council and the Mayor to res
tore funding for libraries."
The cuts would leave New Yorkers with:
- 5.8 million fewer visits to libraries (including 1.8 million fewer by children and young people)
- 5.7 million fewer items circulated
- 2 million fewer computer sessions
- In the Central Bronx, where 82% of families earn less than $50,000 per year, there would be 880,000 fewer visits and 632,000 fewer items circulated.
- In Lower Manhattan where 72% of families earn less than $50,000 per year, there would be 1.1 million fewer visits and 1.3 million fewer items circulated.
- In Staten Island there would be 543,000 fewer visits, and 659,000 fewer items circulated.
The New York Public Library currently receives 18 million visits annually to its 90 libraries and another 26.5 million visits each year to its website, www.nypl.org.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-eight branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org.
Contact: Public Relations Office 212.592.7700