Mayor Eric Adams' push to cut library budgets by more than $36 million this year could force New York City's public libraries to take some drastic steps, according to City Council testimony on Monday.
Three heads of the city's public library systems spoke about how detrimental Adams' proposed budget would be if adopted.
New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library systems would lose $20.7 million in baseline funding as part of Adams' $102.7 billion budget proposal. The Adams plan would also reduce $15.7 million from the Council's "Libraries Initiative," putting the overall cut for the three systems at $36.2 million.
Anthony Marx, president of the New York Public Library, the city's largest library system serving the boroughs of Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx, said the proposal would affect every part of the library system.
“The scale and magnitude of these cuts will impact our operations across the board, whether it be the capacity to open new branches, keep our current hours, maintain our collections or offer programs,” he testified before the Council’s Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committees.
Democrat Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and her colleagues have fiercely opposed the mayor's preliminary budget, arguing it balances public services with fiscal concerns.
City Council Democrats are expected to fight tooth and nail to reverse Adams' library cuts before July 1 when the final budget must be approved.
“This is lifesaving, public safety infrastructure,” Democratic Socialist Queens Councilwoman Tiffany Caban said at a rally on the City Hall steps before Monday’s hearing. “Give the libraries all the money.”
Mayor Adams' plan to destroy New York City's public library systems is a crushing blow to citizens who rely on libraries for many services and is a disservice to the hardworking people who keep these libraries, which are integral centers for community, thriving and accessible.
Source: NY Daily News