2011-06-15 / Front Page

Kids Rally To Save Libraries

BY CRISTINA GUARINO


Children from P.S. 111 and P.S. 112 in Long Island City and the Voice Charter School protest at the “Save The Libraries” rally at the Long Island City branch. 
GuarinoCristinaPhoto Children from P.S. 111 and P.S. 112 in Long Island City and the Voice Charter School protest at the “Save The Libraries” rally at the Long Island City branch. GuarinoCristinaPhoto On June 14, children of Queens added their voices to the growing rally to save Queens Libraries from the proposed fiscal year 2012 budget cuts.

Queens Library CEO Thomas W. Galante, students from P.S. 111, P.S. 112 and the Voice Charter School, library employees and supporters from across Queens met at the Long Island City branch for the “Save The Libraries” rally. The focus of the rally was to support funding for the libraries, which is proposed to be cut down to $25.3 million this upcoming fiscal year.

The budget cut would reduce library services and hours of operation to less than what they were during the Great Depression. Approximately 471 staff members would be laid off, leaving Queens residents with only half of the resources that are currently available. Only 13 libraries would be open five days per week; the other 48 would be closed four to five days per week and only the Central Library in Jamaica would be open Saturdays. All libraries would be closed on Sundays.

The rally, which focused on the losses the children will have to face if the libraries closed, featured performances from the P.S. 111 dance team and the Voice Charter School. Mothers of a few of the children as well as one student spoke on the importance of libraries and their services— including homework help, reading programs and quiet study spaces—for the borough’s children.

The Long Island City Branch, one of the libraries endangered by the budget cuts, is located at 37-44 21st St. More information on the budget cuts and the efforts to save the libraries can be obtained at www.savequeenslibrary.org.

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