November 23, 2020

Nearly 70 Writers, Scholars, and Leaders Sign Letter Supporting NYC Libraries

From the NYPL:

Nearly 70 prominent leaders have signed a letter calling on New York City to reverse years of budget cuts and improve funding for its public libraries.
The letter – which can be read here and ran today in a full-page New York Times ad – is signed by a host of distinguished authors, scholars, city leaders, and artists, including Toni Morrison, Jonathan Franzen, Tom Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, Malcolm Gladwell, John Legend, Anna Deavere Smith, Tony Kushner, Oliver Sacks, Junot Diaz, Judy Blume, Robert Caro, E.L. Doctorow, Jenny Holzer, Paul Auster, Henry Garrido, David Levering Lewis, James Patterson, and many more.
The letter is the latest action by the Invest in Libraries campaign, a joint effort by the city’s three library systems to get $65 million in city operating funding restored in the FY 2016 budget (for citywide six-day service and increased staff, materials and hours) and $1.4 billion in new capital funding over 10 years (to repair, restore, and renovate all 217 city library branches). So far, the systems have held public rallies at City Hall and at two branches in each borough, have released two reports detailing need, and generated over 100,000 letters from New Yorkers to the city asking for increased funding.
Today, the presidents of the three library systems will testify about the executive budget at a hearing at City Hall. That budget includes no new operating funding for libraries, and $300 million in new capital funds over 10 years. On Tuesday, the libraries will support a 24-hour read-a-thon in City Hall Park by grassroots advocacy group Urban Librarians Unite.
Full Text of Letter and Full List of Signers Published in NY Times (June 8, 2015)

Dear Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, and City Council Members:

Libraries strengthen neighborhoods and help New Yorkers from every walk of life achieve their dreams, essential goals to which we know you are fully committed.

New York City’s libraries offer inspiring programs, welcoming staff, and safe spaces for people of all ages, as well as free access to technology and, of course, millions of books. Libraries are the great equalizers. They help their patrons learn new skills and ideas, find jobs, succeed in school, start businesses, connect to the Internet, improve their English, get the city’s new ID cards, prepare for citizenship, and much more.

Yet over the past decade of economic challenges, despite surging attendance and circulation, the City has reduced support for libraries by nearly 20%. As a result, library hours and collections have been reduced, nearly 1,000 staff members have been lost, and New Yorkers most in need have suffered. Additionally, a chronic lack of capital support from the City has created a maintenance crisis in the libraries we love.

The world’s capital of opportunity deserves better.

Now is the time to restore $65 million in operating funding for libraries, and to invest $1.4 billion in capital funding over the next decade to repair and renovate our 217 neighborhood branches. It’s time for New York City to Invest in Libraries.

Sincerely,

  • Kurt Andersen
  • Paul Auster
  • Jennifer Jones Austin
  • Rabbi Andy Bachman
  • Mikhail Baryshnikov
  • Judy Blume
  • Andy Borowitz
  • Phoebe Boyer
  • Rabbi Angela Buchdahl
  • David Byrne
  • Geoffrey Canada
  • Robert Caro
  • Graydon Carter
  • Vin Cipolla
  • Edwidge Danticat
  • Anna Deavere Smith
  • His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America
  • Junot Díaz
  • E.L. Doctorow
  • Jennifer Egan
  • Hector Figueroa
  • Rev. Flake
  • Jonathan Franzen
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Henry Garrido
  • William Gibson
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Malcolm Gladwell
  • Adam Gopnick
  • Annette Gordon-Reed
  • Vartan Gregorian
  • George Gresham
  • Ethan Hawke
  • Jenny Holzer
  • Siri Hustvedt
  • Sherrilyn Ifill
  • Walter Isaacson
  • Maira Kalman
  • Tony Kushner
  • Imam Khalid Latif
  • John Legend
  • Jonathan Lethem
  • David Levering Lewis
  • James McBride
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Toni Morrison
  • David Nasaw
  • Victor Navasky
  • James Patterson
  • Darryl Pinckney
  • Richard Price
  • Francine Prose
  • Ruth Reichl
  • Anthony Romero
  • Oliver Sacks
  • Stacy Schiff
  • Colm Tóibín
  • Javier Valdés
  • Reverend Michael A. Walrond, Jr.
  • Tom Wolfe
  • Jacqueline Woodson
  • Sheena Wright
About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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