July 14, 2011
Dear New Yorker,
When the City Council began budget negotiations in February, we were presented with a preliminary budget that included, among other things, a 29 percent cut to the City’s libraries.
Such a cut would have undermined much of the progress that we’ve made over the years to ensure that New Yorkers in every community have access to quality library service, resulting in most branches opening only three days a week at best.
We couldn’t let that happen, and we’re very pleased to report that we successfully worked with Mayor Bloomberg to restore $83 million in funding to the city’s libraries in the Fiscal Year 2012 Adopted Budget.
This restoration should prevent any closures and lay-offs throughout the New York, Queens and Brooklyn library systems.
It will also allow most, if not all, of our neighborhood branches to remain open five days a week, ensuring that New Yorkers will continue to have access to all the free books, media, job training and other critical resources that our City’s libraries provide.
We want to extend a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who campaigned to help protect these vital institutions.
We still had to make some very painful decisions this year to help balance the City’s budget. But we were able to pass a fiscally responsible budget on time – one that protects libraries, teachers, firehouses and other essential services without jeopardizing our City’s future.
Special thanks as well to DC 37 and the heads of the New York, Queens and Brooklyn library systems for working with us to help keep libraries a top priority in the Fiscal Year 2012 adopted budget.
While this was an important win for our City, next year could prove to be an even bigger battle, and we hope we can continue to count on you and other library supporters.
In fact, if you haven’t had a chance to yet, we encourage you to sign up for Council “Enews.” These issue-based e-mail updates will help us to stay better connected and engaged with you about the budget, Council hearings and events, and other critical issues impacting our City. If you would like to sign up, please click here or visit us online at http://www.council.nyc.gov.
Thanks and have a very safe, relaxing and enjoyable summer!
Christine C. Quinn
Domenic M. Recchia, Jr.
Chair, Finance Committee
Jimmy Van Bramer
Chair, Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations
Vincent J. Gentile
Chair, Select Committee on Librarie
Of course, what’s unsaid is whether that restoration is a complete rollback of the proposed cuts or a compromise.