The budget battle this year ended in the clearest victory we have seen in years. For the first time since 2008 there were NO cuts to the city library budgets. Yes we are absolutely ecstatic about things holding level, that might be a little strange but since we have been watching a slow death by a thousand cuts this year staying whole is really important.
A lot of people worked really hard this year. We would of course first like to thank all of our amazing volunteers. Folks have been coming out for the Read In and the Volunteer Library Brigade in a big big way and that made a huge difference in our advocacy this year. Thanks to our vols!
A big thank you goes to all the City Council who worked so hard on behalf of libraries but in particular to City Councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer and Vincent Gentile. They, along with their staff, were tireless in fighting for libraries. We had a chance to help them coordinate a great children’s rally at City Hall which was a blast to do and a nice example of teamwork by library advocates in the city.
Speaking of teamwork for library advocates in the city, we would like to say a big thank you to the Community Affairs departments at Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Library, and New York Public Library. We had a great year of working together on all kinds of events. We really appreciate the support of the city libraries and in our turn we wholeheartedly support the essential work that they do every day.
No Cuts! No Closures! No Layoffs! We did it folks, total budget restoration, and we could not have done it without your help.
The NYC budget decision is coming down to the wire now, people! Thank you so much for your support so far. We appreciate you signing the petitions, camping out with us at the Read-In, and all the other great stuff you’re doing to help save NYC libraries.
We’re going to ask you to do ONE LAST THING this year to help prevent library funding cuts before the budget is finalized (which might be as early as next week – yikes!)
Just like last year, we’re holding an official “311 Call-In Day” so that the mayor’s office gets inundated with phone calls in support of NYC libraries.
This small action has a BIG impact because 311 tracks the comments and tells the mayor about the issues that concern people the most. Imagine if Mr. Bloomberg got A MILLION comments just about library funding. Would he be able to justify closing them down THEN? Pshaw! (Okay, maybe a million calls is a stretch. But it’s nice to dream!)
Here’s what you can do:
On either Thursday, June 20th, or Friday June 21st (or both!), call 311 at any time and tell the operator you’d like to make a “budget comment.” Then you can make a statement regarding library funding. If you want to keep things simple, here’s a sample script: “I believe closing any libraries in NYC is unacceptable and I’m calling to request the complete restoration of library funding.” Easy as that! And it feels so good.
If you don’t live in NYC, you can call 212-NEW-YORK (or 212-639-9675). In addition, the TTY Number is 212-504-4115.
Want to connect with other library supporters? RSVP to make your phone call over on Facebook!
Thank you again for supporting NYC libraries. We couldn’t do this without you.
No Cuts, No Closures, No Layoffs!
On June 8th & 9th Urban Librarians Unite once again held it 24 Hour Read In for New York City Libraries. This was our fourth year and it was the first year which we had no rain whatsoever! The weather was gorgeous, the turnout was grand, and a great time was had by all.
Once again libraries in New York City are facing dire and dreadful cuts and once again New Yorkers stood up for their libraries by reading right around the clock to show their support. The current cuts stand at $106 Million and should they go through more than a thousand jobs will be lost and over 60 community libraries will be forced to close. Our library supporters refuse to go quietly into this disaster and protested using literature.
It was a great event. We had some wonderful authors like Lev Rosen and Joan Bauer come out in support as well as administrators from all three of the Tri-Li libraries. Brooklyn Public Library was an INCREDIBLE host and their custodial and security services were incredibly gracious and helpful (as they ALWAYS are).
The most beautiful thing about this year’s event was all the new volunteers and friends we made. It was incredible to see two dozen people enjoying the readers at 2AM, indeed we had great coverage and audiences throughout this year (although that 5AM -7AM shift was a bear like always, thanks Lauren and Karen for standing so strong).
We have lots lot LOTS more pics which we will be sharing over the next couple of days. Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us and thanks to everyone who supports the libraries in New York City as they push back against dreadful and crippling budget cuts.
No Cuts! No Closures! No Layoffs!
We Will Not Be Shushed!
(also posted at Urban Librarians Unite)
Well friends, it’s our fourth year of hosting our 24-hour Read-In on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library. Once again readers, library lovers, librarians, families, and even unsuspecting people just wandering by in front of the library are joining together to take a stand against the outrageous proposed cuts to our beloved New York City public libraries.The Read-In will take place from 4 p.m to 4 p.m., June 8th and 9th, in front of the Central Library in Grand Army Plaza.
More details to follow soon, but won’t you join us? Sign up here to claim your time spot and read whatever you like for a quarter of an hour.
- Join us as we read around the clock to show the range and depth of New York’s literary love … and how library cuts would devastate so many of our beloved services
- Join us in protest against the loss of books for our community’s children, young adults, parents, and senior citizens
- Join us to hear librarians, authors, illustrators and city council members share their favorite words
- Join us for a four hours of family story time (8 a.m. – noon on Sunday)
- Join us as we lovingly heckle other readers in the darkest hours of the Read-In (2 a.m – 4 a.m.)
- OR … join us just to come together and enjoy the simple pleasure of reading
Sign up here.
Please specify a Flickr ID for this slideshow
Patrons and Staff from all three library systems converged on City Hall today to support fully funding NYC’s libraries.
But this was a *children’s* rally, and the featured speakers included; Preston, Nicholas, and Thomas from Brooklyn, and Michael from the Bronx.
Teens from a local middle school asked questions of the city council members in snappy fedoras, and we all blew Bubbles for Baselining.
Many thanks to all of the council members who came and spoke out in support of libraries, including (but not limited to) Vincent Gentile, Jimmy Van Bramer, Andy King, Peter Vallone, Gale Brewer, Jumaane Williams, Ydanis Rodriguez, Margaret Chin, Peter Koo, Steve Levin, and Inez Dickens.
Save the libraries!
Libraries are up against the wall again facing the largest budget cuts in the history of New York City. 106 million dollars in cuts. That’s a 35% cut over last year’s funding levels.These cuts, should they go through, will fundamentally change the face of libraries in the five boroughs. More than sixty libraries will closed and shuttered. There will be massive layoffs resulting in disastrous cuts to hours and services. What would a city without libraries look like? There would be one less place for seniors, teens, or kids to safely hang out in the urban landscape. In the case of seniors that means more shut ins, kids would be that much less safe after school and teens would have that much more incentive to seek out trouble with nothing to do. Some of the main providers of ESOL would be put out of commission so fewer people would be able to learn English and improve their lot and that of their families and communities. There would be fewer tools for entrepreneurs so fewer startup business would germinate in the city. The main source of free computer training would be wiped out at a stroke as would free job seeking and job readiness training.
Books and storytime and DVDs and music and free concerts and all that stuff, well that is all going to go away too of course. If you use the library as a place to borrow free stuff and learn things on your own that is going to be an awful lot more difficult. There will be less materials and it will be a lot harder to get them.
Every year we see these kinds of devastating budget cuts and every year we fight like hell and get almost everything back. There is always some smallish final cut of a few million dollars here and a few million dollars there. This results in a few less jobs, a few less resources, a few less hours and yet the NEED for the library in the city grows daily.
It is this genuine need that forces us to always consider these political maneuverings as genuine threats. We must then always respond to these threats aggressively even when it is clear to everyone from the Mayor down that libraries are essential to New York City. Libraries are intrinsically woven into our community fabric and it is essential that our community rise to stand for them in times when they are under assault.
Will YOU stand with your library? Will you bend your shoulder to the wheel to help keep those doors open and the reference desk manned? We need your help, can we rely on you to support libraries in New York City? Fill out the form here and get involved today!
There is a brand new force in library advocacy and those of who fight in the budget trenches are ecstatic that it is here. The EveryLibrary PAC combines grassroots guts with steely-eyed professional political chops. It is a new tool on the library advocacy workbench and we fully expect it to the impact of a sledgehammer.
Why is the PAC important? Library advocacy can be a very tricky thing sometimes. Many libraries have very specific limitations as to what kinds of actions they take as they advocate for budgets and referendums. Organizations like Urban Librarians Unite work outside some of those parameters but we have fetters as well. Nonprofits likeULU,ALA, state library associations, and local libraries have VERY strict limitations as to the amount of money they can spend on lobbying and politics. Even grassroots efforts fall under this umbrella and stepping across those lines can result in penalties from the IRS and loss of nonprofit status.
Political Action Committees like the EveryLibrary PAC can step in and step up in the political arena in ways nobody else on the pro-library scene can. They can give money, real money, to support local budget initiatives. Though it is painful to say it, money is power and the judicious application of that power makes a huge difference in politics. As an organization that has operated on a shoestring for years we are very aware of what even a little money can accomplish. The EveryLibrary PAC is that lever for the rest of us. It is our shiny new titanium crowbar which will give our profession a political edge for years to come.
It is really hard to do this advocacy stuff and with no money in your pocket it can be brutal. What if there was a group that could get some lawn signs made up for the budget vote in your town? What if they could get some newspaper ads going or a radio spot? What if that same group could also help you navigate the political labyrinth of putting initiatives on the ballot and provide high level advice and consulting services? With the EveryLibrary PAC in our corner library advocates are going to be able to push back and push back hard.
For more information or to make a DONATION go to:
EveryLibrary will be a boon to all of us. Jump in as a backer when the dough is rising and you will always be able to say that you were there at the start.
The New York City Council and Mayor Bloomberg have worked out a deal that restores 90 million of the proposed 96.4 million dollar cut, ensuring 5 day service throughout the city.
Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen, it wouldn’t have been possible wothout all the volunteers who stayed up all night, dragged book seeds all over the city, and signed petitions or called 311.
Got 5 minutes?
Why not spend them calling 311?
June 19th and 20th are Call In Action Days
Call 311, get everyone you know to call 311!
If we all got just 10 people to call that would be thousands of calls!I’m not sure shouting at Bloomberg on the steps was enough. Let’s make sure he really hears us. Every single one of us.
RSVP @ the Facebook event page
“I’d like to make a budget comment for the mayor, I believe closing any libraries in NYC is unacceptable and I’m calling to request the complete restoration of library funding”
In any borough of New York City, call 311.
Outside New York City, call (212) NEW-YORK / (212) 639-9675.
The TTY Number is (212) 504-4115.
Make your calls today and tomorrow!
No Cuts, No Closures, No Layoffs!