Queens Library gets fair shake in budget

By Bridget Quinn-Carey

Gov. Cuomo and the state legislature have agreed on a budget for fiscal year 2016. Thanks to your support, overall funding to libraries across New York state has increased.

In Queens, we can expect to see general library state aid increased by approximately $344,000 to $6.4 million. These are funds that we use for general operating expenses.

The state has slightly decreased funds available for Adult Literacy and Education Aid. We will receive approximately $12,000 less than in past years. However, there are funds available for competitive grants for literacy and we will be applying for those opportunities.

There is $500 million available statewide for broadband initiatives. In the past, these funds have been instrumental in helping us further our technology goals, including the Google Tablet lending program and its proprietary interface. We will be researching how our customers can benefit from these funds.

Construction aid to libraries will remain level. In Queens, we receive approximately $1.2 million.

The state has exempted libraries from paying the MTA payroll tax. The state has traditionally refunded the taxes paid, so there is no net financial gain, but it will save time and paperwork.

We are very appreciative that our state legislators recognize the value of public libraries.

It is important to note that New York states funds only 6 percent of Queens Library’s annual budget. More than 85 percent of funds come from the city of New York. Along with our colleagues at New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and DC37, we are asking for a restoration in funding of $65 million citywide to provide additional hours of service and more programs and library materials, we need every library in every neighborhood open at least six days a week. If more library service is a priority for you, please go to www.investinlibraries.org or speakup.queenslibrary.org to tell your city elected officials to invest in your library.

Thank you for your support! It could not have happened without you!

Bridget Quinn-Carey

Interim President and CEO

Queens Library System

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