June 25, By Christian Murray
Long Island City, NY: In Queens, 428 library jobs were on the line, with the possibility of 36 of the 62 libraries in the borough having to close.
The proposed city budget—put forward by Mayor Michael Bloomberg– called for a $29.6 million cut in library funding in Queens, contributing to the $106 million in cuts that were proposed to libraries citywide.
Yesterday, it was announced that with the latest budget deal reached between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Council these cuts will not take place.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the complete restoration of funding for these vital services,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who is also the chairman of the Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries.
The restoration in funding is significant for the Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City branches. Queens Libraries estimated that the cuts would have halved the number of visitors to these three libraries as well as the number of books lent—given the limited hours. In 2012, the libraries in these three neighborhoods—collectively– generated an estimated 692,000 visitors and lent 771,000 books.
“It has always been my goal to restore every cent of the $106 million in cuts to libraries. This record restoration saves over 1,500 jobs, prevents libraries from closing and allows 5 and 6 day service to continue City-wide,” Van Bramer said. “The truth is you can’t have good neighborhoods without libraries.”