March 22, 2018

Free Book Distribution Protests Proposed NYC Library Cuts

ULU books for seedingUrban Librarians Unite (ULU), the group that organized a mass hug for the NYPL’s Schwartzman Building and a march of zombie librarians over the Brooklyn Bridge, is at it again.

In response to New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s executive budget for 2013, which would cut $96.4 million from library funding, ULU’s  Save NYC Libraries Campaign is conducting a “book seeding campaign” in which 1500 books will be distributed to the public during the week of May 21. Each bears a permanent sticker which reads “Libraries in NYC are facing a 32% budget cut. When libraries close this could be your only access to free books.” The stickers bear both a QR code and URL for a website where citizens can sign petitions in support of library funding in New York. (Meredith Schwartz and LJ provided some of the galleys distributed.)

According to ULU, if the cuts take effect, they would result in the closure of 46 libraries, with hours drastically reduced in those left, to 2 or 3 days in Queens, and by about 50 percent in Brooklyn. The mayor and council have until June 30 to reach a decision.

“We have a whole new approach to the ‘controlled crazy’ that is our hallmark,” ULU said in a flyer asking publishers to donate materials. “We want to leave them on park benches, on the subway, in laundromats, in bars, everywhere.”

In another statement the group added, “They are meant to be a surprise, a chance reading opportunity. They are also a reminder of what is at stake.”

ULU founder Christian Zabriskie is one of this year’s Library Journal Movers & Shakers.


Meredith Schwartz About Meredith Schwartz

Meredith Schwartz ( is Executive Editor of Library Journal.



  1. Queens Public and Brooklyn Public are effected by the budget cuts as well, not just NYPL.

  2. Patti McCall says:

    The article clearly states that all the boroughs are affected. Christian Zabriskie works at Queens Library.

  3. Yes, but the headline says “NYPL Cuts”. It should be changed to “New York City library cuts” – I’m sorry that it’s longer but it’s what the article is about, after all.

  4. I know Christian, I’m just stating that it’s not *just* NYPL, that’s all.

  5. Alison McKenna-Miller says:

    I am an NYC librarian who happens to work for Queens Library. I love & fight for all three NYC library systems (as well as libraries everywhere), but the title to this excellent article is clearly and unfortunately misleading. This happens again and again in coverage which pertains to the libraries of New York City and it is a problem. It is unlikely that the author chose that headline–probably selected by Library Journal editors. Please, for the good of all, try to be more precise and representative. That said–keep up the quick and cool coverage!

  6. Chiming in to add my voice to the choir asking that the title be changed for accuracy. These advocacy efforts are on behalf of Queens Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and New York Public Library – three separate library systems in New York City.

  7. Title changed to reflect cuts to all NYC library systems, not just NYPL.

    — Josh Hadro, executive editor, digital for LJ