Queens Library Saved From Budget Ax
Queens Library CEO Thomas W. Galante announced on June 29 that $23 million of the proposed $25 million New York City budget cut has been restored. This is the largest funding restoration at budget adoption in history. It will ensure a minimum five days a week service schedule in every community by averting a massive layoff of library staff. The proposed budget threatened nearly 500 jobs, closing more than a dozen libraries altogether and reducing service to two or three days a week in most communities.
“Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and the City Council demonstrated their tremendous commitment to quality library service. They kept public libraries a top priority during a most difficult budget. Every layoff has been averted so library doors can remain open to enrich the lives of New Yorkers,” Galante said. “Without the support of these library champions, including Councilmember and Chairman of the Finance Committee Domenic M. Recchia Jr., Councilmember and Chairman of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee Jimmy Van Bramer, Queens Delegation Leader Leroy Comrie, Councilmember and Select Committee on Libraries Chairman Vincent Gentile and the entire city council, this would not have been possible.”
Activism and advocacy by the public let City Hall know how much quality public library services are valued by the community. In mid-June, hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions and postcards protesting budget cuts were delivered to City Hall. Some 95,000 came from Queens.
Galante said, “We are turning our attention toward the opening of the new Children’s Library Discovery Center, launching new and improved online services, piloting an e-reader project, installing easy to use self-service circulation technology, continuing the largest library renovation and expansion program in our 100+ year history, and providing all the programs and services that people rely on every day.”