Adams’ proposed budget cuts to libraries will have detrimental effects


Ajay Suresh | Wikipedia

The Editorial Board

New York City’s public library leaders gathered at the steps of City Hall on March 20 to protest a proposed $36.2 million in budget cuts to libraries in the coming fiscal year.

The city should not be neglecting the institutions which have long-served as valuable resources for communities across New York City.

Tony Marx, president and CEO of New York Public Library, told a City Council oversight hearing in December that proposed budget cuts “may push us over the edge,” leading to reduced hours of service, fewer programs and decreased opportunities for underserved New Yorkers.

Many libraries are still struggling from pandemic fallout. Despite this, they continue to provide essential services to underserved groups.

Last year, libraries expanded Teen Centers and services for students, as well as supportive services for asylum-seekers becoming familiar with New York City.

Libraries also offer after-school programs that enrich children’s education and relieve working parents of their caretaking duties for several hours in the afternoon. Access to free books also fosters literacy among children and adults alike.

Public libraries are one of the only places in the city where anyone can reliably find free access to computers, Wi-Fi, restrooms, air conditioning and print media.

This is not only useful to the low-income population of New York City but also to anyone who simply wants access to these resources.

During this period, Mayor Eric Adams proposed increasing funds for the police department by $182 million, indicating that the administration’s priorities are severely misaligned.

Even if the protests are successful, libraries should continue to fight for additional funding so they can maintain their role as a vital resource for New Yorkers.

This funding can be put toward updating technological equipment and expanding book inventory. Libraries can also add more English literacy courses and hire social workers to support asylum-seekers using these resources.