Libraries Take Disproportionate Hit in New York Mayor’s Budget
By Gordon Flagg
New York City’s three library systems took a disproportionate hit in the $63.6-billion budget proposal released by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg January 28. In order to close a $4.9-billion deficit for FY2011, the plan makes $1.6 billion in reductions to city agencies. Of the 834 job cuts, 299—more than one-third—would come from library staff, prompting the New York Times to call libraries “the biggest loser” in the budget. Additionally, the plan calls for another 135 library jobs to be lost by attrition.
Subsidies to the library systems—New York Public Library, Queens Library, and Brooklyn Public Library—would be reduced by $22.1 million; this follows a $12.9-million funding reduction in FY2010.
The other agencies hardest hit by the cuts are cultural institutions, which would see 186 jobs cut, and the health department, which would lose 141.
In past years, cuts to libraries proposed in the mayoral budget have generally been restored by the city council. However, this year’s fiscal situation is particularly dire: Bloomberg warned that that if the state budget proposed by Gov. David A. Paterson is enacted, the city would lose an additional $1.3 billion, resulting in a 3.6% cut to the police and fire departments and 7.2% to other agencies on top of the cuts he proposed , the New York Daily News reported January 28.
The day after the announcement, the libraries were still coming to grips with the news. "We are assessing the situation and evaluating our options," NYPL spokesperson Angela Montefinise told American Libraries. Brooklyn Public Library spokesperson Malika Granville said, "We're all playing the waiting game and waiting to see what ufolds," and Queens Library wasn't prepared to comment.
American Libraries, Fri, 01/29/2010 - 15:10