New York City Council Secures Funding for Public Libraries in Fiscal Year 2024 Budget
New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Finance Chair Justin Brannan recently announced the funding secured in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget for the city’s three public library systems – Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library. This significant funding allocation comes as a result of the Council’s recognition of libraries as neighborhood institutions and resource hubs.
In the adopted budget for June, the Council played a crucial role in restoring $36.2 million in proposed cuts to library funding, including $10 million for the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL). Overall, the city budget allocated nearly $130 million in operations funding for BPL, demonstrating the Council’s commitment to ensuring adequate resources for libraries. Additionally, the Council directly provided $9.6 million in capital funding for infrastructure projects at BPL branches.
Speaker Adrienne Adams emphasized the importance of libraries as the bedrock of their communities, offering free critical programs and resources to New Yorkers of all ages. By advocating with stakeholders across the city and engaging in tough negotiations, the Council was able to restore significant funding and deliver essential resources to the Brooklyn Public Library. Adams emphasized that the Council will continue to prioritize libraries and work towards securing the necessary investments for them to adequately serve their communities.
The critical expense funding secured through the budget allows the three library systems to maintain programs and staffing to meet growing demands, retain their physical and digital collections, and preserve universal six-day service. Furthermore, capital funding will enable the libraries to make progress on facility expansions and improvements, ensuring that more branches receive the necessary upgrades.
Council Member and Finance Chair Justin Brannan highlighted the Council’s efforts to prevent a $10 million cut to the Brooklyn Public Library. This cut would have resulted in the elimination of Sunday service hours, reduced Saturday service at several branches, and the termination of 80 open positions. Brannan emphasized the Council’s commitment to protecting libraries, as they transcend partisan politics and hold a special place in the hearts of all New Yorkers. Through the leadership of Speaker Adams, the Council successfully fought to save the Brooklyn Public Library from significant cuts and ensure continued comprehensive programming for residents of all ages.
The three library systems in New York City serve millions of visitors each year and play vital roles in their communities. They provide essential services such as ESL and digital literacy classes, career readiness training, reading programs, and financial counseling, among other resources. Additionally, last year, the Brooklyn Public Library responded to book bans across the country by offering free library cards to young people nationwide, thus opening its e-book collection to a wider audience.
Linda Johnson, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, expressed deep appreciation for the ongoing support from Speaker Adams and Finance Chair Justin Brannan. Their leadership and dedication have ensured the preservation of weekend library service, strong collections, and the protection of vital programs and services for the borough. Amid a record number of book bans, Johnson applauded Speaker Adams and Council Member Brannan for their responsive civic leadership during the budget process, sending a powerful message about the importance of public libraries to New Yorkers and the nation.
The funding secured by the New York City Council for the city’s public library systems marks a significant investment in the communities they serve. Libraries are critical institutions that provide access to knowledge, education, and resources, making them invaluable assets for all residents. The Council’s commitment to restoring funding and supporting library infrastructure is a testament to their understanding of the vital role libraries play in fostering community development and empowerment.