Community, Officials And Library Staff Rally For Queens Library
A downpour on May 18 couldn’t keep away a concerned community who gathered at the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library, New York state’s busiest branch library, to fight against the unjust cuts to Queens Public Library.
Chants of “Save the Library” and “No More Cuts” filled the echoing lobby as people stood shoulder to shoulder in protest of a 30 percent budget reduction for the Queens Public Library System and its employees.
Cuts call for certain branches being closed at least four days a week.
Queens has the largest number of library users, yet Manhattan’s public libraries have far more resources and far fewer users. Now, at least a third of the union members working in the library are being faced with impending unemployment.
The Queens Library, critical to the educational, cultural and a vital community resource for the entire borough is about to be phased out by this radical change that will threaten its future.
Amidst countless community members, a handful of powerful supporters were also in attendance, including Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, who funded the expansion of the Corona library a few years back, Councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer, Peter Koo and Daniel Halloran and Queens Library CEO Thomas Galante. Also lending their support were representatives for Assemblymember Grace Meng and City Council Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie.
“The closure of a library is a waste of a valuable resource that provides a multitude of services for users of every age in the community it serves. Yet, we here in Queens face closures of branches that together make up the busiest library system in the city. Last year alone, more than 14 million visitors opened library doors and left with 23 million loaned items,” Marshall said.
“Libraries provide invaluable services and programs that enrich our communities and improve the academic performance of children in our schools. I will work tirelessly with my colleagues in the city council as well as advocates to restore as much funding as possible,” Van Bramer, who is chairman of the Cultural Affairs & Libraries Committee, said.
New York City’s Executive Budget calls for a cut to Queens Library of $25.3 million in the fiscal year of 2012. This is the fourth consecutive year that Queens Library’s operating budget has declined, causing fewer library hours, less service and fewer books and videos on the shelves for customer use.
Another rally is scheduled for June 7 at the Queens Central Library in Jamaica.
If you’re interested in supporting our libraries, visit www.savequeenslibrary.org.