Friday, February 10, 2012

Bloomberg's Budget Takes $100M from NYC Libraries

Another year, another drastic budget cut proposal for New York's public libraries.

Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented a budget for fiscal year 2012-13. It proposes that nearly $100 million be cut from the city's three library systems: the Queens Borough Public Library; the Brooklyn Public Library; and the New York Public Library, which serves the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island.

Bloomerg promotes reading while slashing funds for city libraries.
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Such severe cuts "would mean library closures in every community, most other libraries open only two or three days a week, and widespread layoffs," according to Joanne King, a spokesperson for the Queens Borough Public Library system. King vowed that she and others "will be working with elected officials at all levels of City Hall" to ensure that Bloomberg's version of the budget does not pass.

The efforts of King and her colleagues will be bolstered by those at the grassroots level. Groups including Urban Librarians Unite are already mobilizing to protest Bloomberg's proposed cuts to library funding.

For more details on these cuts, see the Library Journal article below.

Library Journal * February 8, 2012

Bloomberg Proposes Cutting NYC Library Funding by Nearly $100 Million

By Michael Kelly

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented a $68.7 billion preliminary FY12-13 budget on February 2 that, as usual, proposes Draconian cuts for the city’s three library systems.

Bloomberg’s budget has almost no chance of passing through the City Council without significant adjustments, but it proposes a total cut of $96.4 million:

• Queens Borough Public Library, cut $26.7 million;

• Brooklyn Public Library, cut $26.9 million;

• New York Public Library, cut $36.0 million;

• NYPL’s four research libraries, cut $6.8 million.

These numbers are based on the latest forecasts that the city’s Office of Management and Budget has made for the city’s contribution for the current fiscal year (FY11-12) compared to what Bloomberg has proposed for FY12-13, plus the midyear adjustments (called Programs to Eliminate the Gap) that Bloomberg is anticipating this year. Officials from Queens and NYPL confirmed the figures.

“It would mean library closures in every community, most other libraries open only two or three days a week and widespread layoffs,” said Joanne King, a spokersperson for the Queens system. “We will be working with elected officials at all levels of City Hall to have the proposal restored,” she said.

Officials at NYPL declined to comment and Brooklyn did not respond to repeated calls seeking a comment.

Last year Bloomberg made a similar proposal only to agree with the council, after numerous protests, to adjust his proposal by $83 million, which resulted in relatively flat funding for the year. The City Council approved a total of $301.4 million for all the systems combined last year. City funding is the largest part of each system’s budget, except for the research libraries.

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