The city’s executive budget includes $100 million in cuts to libraries across all five boroughs, slashing $29.6 million from Queens libraries alone.
“If that proposal were to become reality, the impact [is] unthinkable,” said Thomas Galante, president and CEO of Queens Library.
The cut marks a 35-percent decrease from current funding, will cause 428 layoffs, close over half of Queens Library locations and slash weekly hours from 40 to 21.
“The proposed cut is enormous,” Galante said.
Advocates tout the library as a sanctuary for quiet reading, research and computer use along with opportunities to sharpen job skills. With the proposed cuts, 1.9 million children and teen visitors will lose library access after school and during vacation time, and 28,000 job seekers will lose access to help with job searches, resume writing and interview skills, according to Queens Library.
“These cuts, if they do take place, would be devastating,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “But we still have a little time left. We haven’t given up yet.”
However, Marshall said that even if the cuts are restored, there will still be no enhancements for library programs.
Galante said there needs to be a stable funding stream for the future. Additionally, for services to remain as per usual, libraries must stay open at least five days a week.
Visit www.savequeenslibrary.org to sign the electronic petition. You can also email your elected representative to help.
“You need your library,” said Galante. “Right now, your library needs you.”