Local electeds rally at Flushing Library, urge Mayor Adams’ administration to reverse library budget cuts as city’s deadline approaches

flushing library
Local elected officials and residents rallied at Flushing Library to advocate for the reversal of budget cuts.
Photo courtesy of Council Member Sandra Ung’s office

Local elected officials and advocates held a rally at Flushing Library to call on Mayor Adams’ administration to fully restore $58.3 million in funding for the city’s library systems on Sunday, June 23. Supporters are pushing for a resolution before the deadline for the city’s budget at the end of the month.  

Libraries across the city have been impacted by the mayor’s budget cuts, which includes reduced services at local branches and the loss of seven-day service. The Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library system ended Sunday services a few months ago due to the budget cuts. 

Advocates also rallied at the Walt Whitman branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system , which will likely end Saturday services if funding is not restored in the budget deadline due on June 30. 

At the Flushing library rally,  an array of  local council members, including Sandra Ung, Linda Lee and Tiffany Caban, spoke in support of reversing the budget cuts that have affected services at the Flushing Library. Residents also held up signs in English and Mandarin that said “Libraries are for everyone” as they chanted “No more cuts” in front of the entrance of the Flushing Library. 

“In largely immigrant communities, libraries are where newcomers – like myself as a young girl – learn English and discover valuable resources that help them build better lives for themselves and their families,” Council Member Ung said. Ung added that the budget cuts are a loss of services and support for New Yorkers. She said she is committed to working with Speaker Adrienne Adams and other City Council members to reverse the budget cuts. 

Council Member Lee echoed Ung’s views, saying that libraries are essential to providing residents a space to socialize and access technology and important ESL and social services. “The administration’s cuts to our libraries eliminate seven-day service and diminishes access to the unique programs that New Yorkers rely on to serve their needs. I am proud to join my Council colleagues, Queens Public Library and New Yorkers across the five boroughs to rally in support of restoring the $58.3 million libraries needed to thrive and remain open to support our communities,” Council Member Lee said.

“I love the library. I still remember getting my first library card,” Council Member Caban said. “In a community where it was largely a lower income immigrant community, where my family was struggling with a lot of different things, the library was a lifeline. This is a drop in the bucket budget-wise for a service that literally saves lives.” 

During the rally, many local community members shared their love for library services and the importance of libraries in shaping their experiences. One community member, Jennifer Choi, shared how having access to the library helped her in many instances as she grew up  with her immigrant parents, who were determined to save for their children’s education. The diversity that libraries have opened for us is simply astounding. We would come straight after school, and before the library closed, we would check out 50 books,” Choi said. Libraries build character, hope and they build minds.