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Monday, June 4, 2012

How to Save a Library

The Spring season brings with it certain painful inevitabilities: pollen allergies, warming temperatures (which is not a good thing for creatures of the cold such as myself), endless rain storms, and not the least frustrating, New York City budget negotiations. Yes, it's that time of year again, when public librarians and library users all across the city throw down the gauntlet, take off the gloves, and begin the fight against library cuts and closures. No, my friends, I am not a fan of Spring. Budget cuts make me angry, and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.  

This is my "budget cut protest" stance.
The problem: Mayor Bloomberg is once again threatening to cut the budgets of all three NYC library systems - it would be a 32% cut in Brooklyn alone. I don't need to tell you how devastating this would be for libraries, and I probably don't need to rehash the reasons I think libraries are important...nay...essential in these economic times. (If you read this blog regularly, you probably already know my reasons, but if you need a bit more inspiration, Urban Librarians Unite has a great post up about why public librarians continue to fight.)

The solution(s): All hope is not completely lost. There are simple and effective ways to combat the budget problems we are facing, and anyone living in NYC can help. If you are a library user, or you love libraries in general, or you think that our communities benefit from libraries in ANY WAY, the single most important thing to do in this fight is to let your voice be heard. Simply put, let your elected officials know that you oppose library budget cuts and potential closures. That's it! It doesn't have to be anything fancy.

THE PETITIONS: The fastest way to do this is to sign one of the online petitions provided by the three library systems. Just click on your borough and pour your little library-loving hearts out.



NYPL! (Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island)

If you want to get even more involved, stop by this year's 24-Hour Read-In at Brooklyn Public Library's Central branch starting at 4pm on Saturday, June 9th. It's a lot of fun, and a great way to show your support for libraries. (Plus you get to hear cool people read stuff out loud. It's like storytime for grownups!) *Update: The Read-In was a great success and a lot of fun! We thank everyone who attended.

Last but not least: it never hurts to call 311 or send an email, letter, or postcard directly to Mayor Bloomberg, as illustrated by this amazing 10-year-old in one of my blog posts from last year, "Postcards from the Edge (of the Reference Desk)." (Of course, your letters don't have to  be as threatening.)  

Thanks, everyone. Your support makes all the difference. Keep the faith, fight the power, and other generic phrases of encouragement!



  1. Child-me is enraged that this is even a possibility. Maybe someone should send Mayor Bloomberg into a library and see if he can hunt down an 16th-century opinion piece about Queen Elizabeth's hats without the help of a librarian?

  2. That sounds like a good idea! (Although I'm not sure the mayor cares about hats.) ;)