February 22, 2017

Bloomberg Proposes Cutting NYC Library Funding by Nearly $100 Million

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented a $68.7 billion preliminary FY12-13 budget on February 2 that, as usual, proposes Draconian cuts for the city’s three library systems.

Bloomberg’s budget has almost no chance of passing through the City Council without significant adjustments, but it proposes a total cut of $96.4 million:

• Queens Borough Public Library, cut $26.7 million;

• Brooklyn Public Library, cut $26.9 million;

• New York Public Library, cut $36.0 million;

• NYPL’s four research libraries, cut $6.8 million.

These numbers are based on the latest forecasts that the city’s Office of Management and Budget has made for the city’s contribution for the current fiscal year (FY11-12) compared to what Bloomberg has proposed for FY12-13, plus the midyear adjustments (called Programs to Eliminate the Gap) that Bloomberg is anticipating this year. Officials from Queens and NYPL confirmed the figures.

“It would mean library closures in every community, most other libraries open only two or three days a week and widespread layoffs,” said Joanne King, a spokersperson for the Queens system. “We will be working with elected officials at all levels of City Hall to have the proposal restored,” she said.

Officials at NYPL declined to comment and Brooklyn did not respond to repeated calls seeking a comment.

Last year Bloomberg made a similar proposal only to agree with the council, after numerous protests, to adjust his proposal by $83 million, which resulted in relatively flat funding for the year. The City Council approved a total of $301.4 million for all the systems combined last year. City funding is the largest part of each system’s budget, except for the research libraries.

Michael Kelley About Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley (mkelley@mediasourceinc.com) is the former Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal.

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  1. Kevin M. Randall says:

    While the news is both shocking and alarming, the story fails to deliver some critical information. Nowhere is it told how much of the budget of the libraries (either individually or collectively) these cuts represent. The only hint comes in the last two sentences, but even then it’s quite a mystery. $301.4 million is the sum of a) something greater than 50% of the Queens, Brooklyn, and NYPL budgets, and b) something less than 50% of the NYPL four research libraries budgets. Are we talking like 90% for (a) and 10% for (b)? The article gives absolutely no clue. For sure this is something to be VERY concerned about, but the dollar amounts have no context!

  2. We put together some charts here, http://www.savenyclibraries.com/?page_id=661.