City leaders reverse library cuts, Queens Public Library service fully restored

Queens Borough President Richards, QBL President Dennis Walcott and Library advocates demanded Mayor Adams restore Library budget cuts at a rally in May. Their efforts proved to be successful with the mayor and city council restoring proposed cuts to the 2025 budget last week.
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

The three library systems across New York City—including the Queens Public Library—will be fully funded following a deal that Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council reached while negotiating the 2025 budget.

Under the deal, library branches in Queens and across the city will not have to cut service to five days a week from six, and Sunday service will continue in locations where it has always been offered.

The budget will restore $58.3 million to the three major library systems—including the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QPL)— and will allow libraries to resume their regular services and open newly renovated locations.

Starting on July 14, seven-day service will resume in branches that previously offered it. Seven-day service is available at the Flushing Library and the Queens Central Library in Jamaica.  There are over 200 library branches across the city, with the QPL having 66 locations. 

“As a young man who struggled with dyslexia, I understand firsthand how important libraries are for children, families and every New Yorker in leveling the playing field,” said Mayor Adams at a press conference Monday at the newly-opened Inwood Library in Manhattan.

“From providing spaces to prepare our young people for a bright future to being a vital partner in the creation of affordable housing, libraries are a lifeline for countless communities. Today, we can all be proud that our city has a budget that invests in our libraries and invests in the future of our city, ”  Adams added. 

Dennis M. Walcott, President and CEO of the Queens Public Library, said he was grateful to Mayor Adams, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and other local leaders for prioritizing libraries and continuing vital services to local communities.

“We also owe a big thanks to all who spoke up for libraries, including members of the public, library staff and our union partners. We cannot wait to open the doors of our Flushing and Central libraries on Sundays again to welcome back the public,” Walcott said.

Advocates and local officials organized many rallies when funding was thought to be in jeopardy. For instance, on June 24, a rally led by  Council Members Sandra Ung, Linda Lee and Tiffany Caban was held in front of the Flushing Library. Residents held up signs in English and Mandarin that said, “Libraries are for everyone,” as they chanted, “No more cuts.”

The presidents of the Brooklyn, Queens and New York Public Library systems released a joint statement praising the mayor and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams for restoring funding.

“Brooklyn, Queens, and New York Public libraries are thrilled that the budget agreement includes the full restoration of funding for public libraries – a resounding victory for all New Yorkers. We are honored to be able to continue the vital programs, initiatives and hours of operation that this great city so clearly wants, needs and deserves. Thank you, New York, for the overwhelming show of support on behalf of public libraries!” wrote Linda E. Johnson, Dennis M. Walcott and Anthony W. Marx.

The letter also revealed that over 174,000 New Yorkers sent messages to City Hall in support of the “No Cuts to Libraries Campaign,” a campaign that was launched urging city officials to restore funding.