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Tell City Hall: We need more investment in libraries

New York City provided a significant funding increase for libraries last year, and we've already seen the impact: more librarians, 6-day service in all branches, far more evening and weekend hours, and many more satisfied patrons.

But more is needed. Public funding for our libraries is still far below 2008 levels, even though demand for services is way up. Classes and story times are full. Library buildings are in a maintenance crisis.

Send a letter NOW asking the Mayor and City Council to keep investing in libraries.

Your letter will go to Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Libraries Subcommittee Chair Andy King and your City Council Member.

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Dear Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, and Council Member,

Last year, your investment helped transform public libraries. Neighborhood branches hired much-needed staff, from children's librarians to technology specialists, and began staying open longer, so that working people can visit their branches on weekends and evenings. These gains enable libraries to serve, more than ever, as an essential City partner.

Libraries are on the front lines of tackling inequality. We support all New Yorkers by providing critical free resources, from ESOL classes to support immigrants and early literacy instruction to ensure all our children succeed, to coding courses that help empower women and diverse populations, and resources for the currently or recently incarcerated.

While last year's investment was significant, we are not done. Funding for New York libraries is still $22 million below 2008 levels, while demand for services and programs keeps growing. And it's New Yorkers who suffer the consequences.

Keeping up with the city's over 40 million library visits each year has stretched our librarians and facilities to their limits. Many branches still need critical building repairs. These issues can't be resolved unless you keep investing in libraries. That means:

  • Increase operating funding for libraries by $22 million so that libraries can restore and expand much-needed programming to meet soaring demand.
  • Baseline all library funding allocated in the FY16 budget so that libraries can preserve citywide six-day service, retain staff hired last year, and continue to provide expanded programming.
  • Allocate $100 million of capital funding for libraries in FY17 so that the city’s three library systems can begin addressing their more than $250 million in immediate maintenance needs.

We need you to continue your leadership by investing in libraries so our branches can provide the programs and services New Yorkers so desperately rely on.