Queens Library is facing unprecedented budgets cuts that will devastate library service unless funding is restored. The proposed city budget slashes our operating funds by nearly $20 million. If sustained, these cuts would reduce the hours that Queens Libraries will be open to the public with programs and services severely curtailed. All community libraries could be closed on weekends with some libraries open only two or three days a week. We must not let this happen!
More than 3 million people used Queens Library's computers last year. You borrowed 23 million free books, DVDs, and music CDs. Thousands of school children came in for homework help every day. Tens of thousands used the library to search for a new or better job and thousands learned to speak English. Half a million people attended free programs for education and entertainment.
These services are invaluable, and in today's economic climate libraries, are more important than ever. This is the worst possible time to scale back on these critical programs and services. That is why we must do everything we can to let our friends in government know how important libraries are to the people of Queens and ask them for their support in restoring Queens Library's budget.
The City Council and the mayor will negotiate the final budget during the next several weeks. Your voice right now in support of libraries can make the difference.
Please contact your city elected officials and let them know you want libraries to remain open.
Go to www.savequeenslibrary.org and sign the electronic petition. Better yet: come in to any Queens Library and sign the Save the Library petition. I know that by raising our voices together in support of the life-enhancing role libraries play in every community, we can keep library doors open for all.
Thomas W. Galante