From the NY Daily News:
Libraries took a $10 million hit in the city’s 2016 budget.
The three systems received $323 million — including $5 million from the City Council — in operating funds in 2015, and this year were only promised around $313 million.
The New York, Brooklyn and Queens public libraries also didn’t get the combined $1.4 billion in capital funds they’d requested for the next 10 years.
From the Wall St. Journal:
The mayor is recommending a $300 million increase over a 10-year period in capital funds for libraries. But library officials said his proposal includes a $10 million cut in operating expenses for the coming fiscal year.
It’s going to be very interesting to see if pressure by the the libraries and their users/supporters will see some of or all of the $10 million is restored by the time the budget is finalized next month.
Here are statements from the leaders of the three NYC library systems.
New York Public Library President Tony Marx
“The Mayor’s proposed operating budget is a setback for libraries — providing $10 million less than last year, and $65 million less than 2008. The Mayor and the City Council know that millions of New Yorkers, especially those most in need, deserve more hours, programming, library staff, and books in the 217 neighborhood libraries. The good news is libraries are today for the first time, included in the City’s proposed ten year capital plan, although not yet at the needed funding level of $1.4 billion. We hope together we can get this right over the next six weeks.”
Linda Johnson, President of Brooklyn Public Library
“It is disappointing that the Mayor’s executive budget proposal rolls back the libraries’ operating funds by $10 million and moves us further from achieving universal six-day service. Libraries need a full $65 million restoration to provide the free resources millions of New Yorkers depend on. While we welcome our first-ever inclusion in the City’s ten-year capital plan, the funding levels proposed are not enough to address our aging infrastructure. We remain hopeful that the Administration and the City Council will increase both operating and capital dollars for libraries before the final budget is adopted.
Bridget Quinn-Carey, Interim President & CEO of Queens Library
“We appreciate Mayor de Blasio’s much needed investment in upgrading library facilities, and that libraries are included in the City’s 10-year capital plan. Our annual operating budget, however, is what funds hours of service, staff, collections and public access to technology. The Mayor’s proposed budget for next year provides $10 million less than this year, and $65 million less than 2008. We need a complete $65 million restoration of our operating budget, to give Queens residents access to their local library on the weekends, a critical time for working families, as well to provide additional programs and books. We look toward the City Council and the Mayor to work together to invest in libraries.”
We plan to update this post as more reaction comes in.
See Also: Before the proposed budget was released yesterday, the NY Times published this editorial: “New York City’s Libraries Need Money (May 5, 2015)