Van Bramer Leads Rally At City Hall For Queens Library
Hundreds of library supporters led by Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee Chair Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, other members of the City Council, representatives of Queens Library Guild Local 1321 and members of the community rallied on the steps of City Hall to restore proposed budget cuts to Queens Library today.
If not restored, the proposed cut of 31 percent would mean reducing library service drastically, including:
• Layoffs of 605 people who provide critical public services
• 18 libraries in Queens closed altogether
• 30 libraries closed four or five days per week
• Only one library in Queens open on Saturdays
• No Sunday library service in Queens at all
The cuts would mean people in Queens would have much less access to computers, materials, homework help, job preparation, literacy, ESL and so many other important library services.
“Cutting nearly $100 million in funding to New York City’s top affordable educational institutions is just dead wrong,” Van Bramer said. “New York City deserves a budget that invests in its libraries not one that slashes much-needed funding from easily accessible educational, cultural and social programming. By cutting this funding now, at a time when all city residents’ budgets are tight, the proposed budget will deprive millions of people of affordable programming that has been established to uplift our local communities. We cannot allow this to happen. I will continue to fight to restore these budget cuts with my colleagues in the New York city council because our constituents and communities deserve more.”
Councilmember Vincent Gentile said, “With city, state and federal budgets under ever-increasing pressure, we need to make the case for libraries more than ever. All too often, libraries are the first to receive budget cuts. Therefore it is imperative that we all understand the essential role that libraries play, not only in our community, but in our economy and society overall. It is important that we also understand during tough economic times, people turn to libraries more than ever. It isn’t hard to figure out why when times are tough a place that offers an incredible array of free resources would see their usage rise significantly.”
Councilmember Leroy Comrie remarked, “Public libraries play a significant and vital role throughout the city. The Central Library in Queens provides students a place to do their homework after school, a facility for non-profits to implement their programs, and ensures free access to the Internet for people who are unable to go online at home. The cuts proposed by Mayor Bloomberg will put the thousands of New Yorkers who frequent libraries looking to improve their well-being at a disadvantage. The administration should restore funding to libraries and not cause further damage to institutions that provide educational, cultural, and economic resources to our community.”
Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. Queens Library serves a population of 2.3 million in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the U.S. and has among the highest circulations of any public library system in the world. For more information about programs, services, locations, events and news, visit the Queens Library Web site at www.queenslibrary.org or call 718-990-0700.
Financial Plan Fiscal Year 2013 proposes:
• $26.7 million less funding to provide vital library service
• 31 percent reduction below FY 2012 funding
• 42 percent reduction below FY 2008 levels, when six-day-a-week service
What would it mean to Queens Library users?
• 1,350,000 million fewer public-use computer sessions and 41,000 fewer wireless sessions, hobbling those least able to afford home computers or broadband
• 1,750,000 children unable to access the library after school and during vacations – less homework help, less school support
• 15,000 fewer free educational, cultural and informational programs, including fewer job search resources, less health information
• 26,000 job seekers would be barred from search assistance, resume-writing help, interview skills assistance
• 3,500 fewer adult literacy students, ESOL learners, pre-GED and GED students will have access to study sessions, tutors and materials
• 9,250 fewer seats in technology training workshops
• 6,000,000 fewer library visits
• 700,000 less books purchased
Demand is stronger than ever for Queens Library services in after-school attendance, program attendance and circulation, steadily rising in the past three years.