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Library Users Throw the book at Mayor

Queens library customers made it very clear to Mayor Giuliani last week that they oppose planned deep cuts in the library budget.
They railed against any efforts by City Hall to cut the budget by $4 million in 1999 and shut off funds for capital improvement projects.
It was evident from comments by customers at two Queens Library branches that the library system is one of the borough’s "sacred cows" and shouldn’t be touched.
Younger Queens residents who depend upon the library for book reports and study were particularly critical of the move announced last week by City Hall.
"I don’t think its right" said Edwin Rodriguez, a Bayside student. "Instead of making cuts they should improve services."
Irene Vayos and her young daughter agreed.
"I’m not crazy about the idea at all," she said. "In fact, I’m against it. We use the Bayside branch at least twice a week."
Amy Meng, a Bayside student, said that her education depended upon a viable library system.
"This is really not good," she said. "The cuts mean that the libraries will close early. I’m here two hours a day and need this resource for my school work."
Many library users shared stories of the library’s importance in their lives.
Eva DeBlasi of Woodhaven recalled that when she arrived in Richmond Hill from Poland 13 years ago "I felt lonely and alienated, lost all my sense of belonging, no legal employment, no health care.
"The friends I was staying with took me to the Richmond Hill branch and suddenly there was this one city office that welcomed me with open arms. No questions asked, I received my first ‘official’ document, my library card."

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