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Monday, May 9, 2011

Ain't No Cure for the Budget-time Blues

Hey, folks. I need to get serious for a moment, and I'll get right to the point: according to this recently released document regarding Mayor Bloomberg's proposed executive budget for 2012, NYC libraries are in big trouble. These cuts would result in reduced library hours, the reduction and/or elimination of programs & materials, and staff layoffs. (Based on this budget model, Brooklyn Public Library could potentially lay off 158 employees this summer, including yours truly. Zoinks.)
Do you want to see this sign on your library? Nay!

Instead of sobbing into a glass of wine, which is one of my usual coping mechanisms when I'm stressed, I've channeled my panic and compiled a few ways you (yes, you!) can help fight against these library cuts. 

1) If you live in NYC, you can sign one of these online petitions. They go straight to your elected officials and only take a few minutes to complete. Plus you get to fill out boxes! Everyone loves filling out boxes, right?

Choose your library system:

2) Even if you don't live in NY, you can email your own state senators and house representative through the ALA for National Library Legistlative DayYou can also contact officials through NYLA if you live in the state of NY.

(Photo Courtesy of ULU)
3) I am part of an enthusiastic grassroots advocacy group called Urban Librarians Unite. I encourage you to check out their website, which has a bunch of useful information all in one place about how to help fight for libraries this budget season, including an awesome postcard-writing campaign, a 24-hour read-in, and lots of other exciting advocacy-related events. (The photo above - with my good friend Ingrid on the left and me on the right looking like Zombie Elvis - was from last fall's zombie librarian advocacy march on City Hall. Frightfully fun.)

Postcards from last year's 24-Hour Read-In. Send one! (Photo courtesy of ULU).

4) Also, if you come to Love Your Library Day this Saturday, May 14th at the Central Branch of Brooklyn public library, you can help support the library AND see me and my librarian band Lost in the Stacks throw down some "phat beats," as the kids say. (Okay, kids don't say that.) Just for fun, here's a picture of Roscoe Orman - a.k.a "Gordon" from Sesame Street - singing a guest song with us at a Nuyorican Poets Cafe gig last fall! A children's librarian's dream come true:

(The appearance of Roscoe Orman is not guaranteed at future LITS gigs.)

That's all the NYC library advocacy news I can think of at the moment (let me know if I missed anything). Stay tuned for more information! And don't forget, wherever you are, there's a library that needs your support. We depend on you just as much as you depend on us. Thanks for reading.


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  2. As a user of libraries for almost 60 years, and someone who grew up in NYC, I have posted this on Facebook. Our libraries here in the Binghamton, NY area (especially the Vestal library) are in danger too.

  3. Thanks for this alert. Already contacted my senator and congressman.

  4. I'm anguished at the thought of funding cuts. I love my library... I'm working on a fundraising project for the library that feels like a teeny drop in the bucket compared to what's needed. But I feel less helpless.