Union, Advocates Fight Against Cuts to Library Budgets

DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido speaks out on behalf of city library funding at a press conference at City Hall, in lower Manhattan on May 21. Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera

Facing possible cuts in the city budget, DC 37 leaders of locals representing public library employees took to the steps of City Hall May 21 with the heads of the city’s three library systems, elected officials and advocates to warn of a dramatic impact should funding to the library systems be reduced– including loss of weekend service, reduced programming and delayed revitalization projects.

“Our public libraries are lifelines for NYC neighborhoods – and cutting their budgets would jeopardize hours and days of service. We urge City Hall to find a way to keep what amounts to less than half of 1 percent of the city’s overall budget,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido.

“Libraries are the great equalizers in our society, and the most-equipped vehicle to a fairer and stronger City,” said Queens Public Library President Dennis M. Walcott, “We need increased funding, not less. We need additional dollars to maintain our current level of service, meet rising costs, repair and upgrade our aging buildings. Cutting the budgets of libraries will undermine our commitment to opportunity for all New Yorkers.”

Libraries across the city are doing more than ever before, from traditional services like storytime to key civic initiatives including support for new Americans.

Of particular concern is the 2020 Census; libraries expect to play a central role in helping New Yorkers with the Census, but fear that they will not be provided additional financial support from the city to do this crucial civic work that will help determine federal funding to New York City for the next ten years.

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