May 22, 2019
Booklover Sarah Jessica Parker doesn’t want to see budgets for libraries slashed
by Alex Primiani
New York public libraries are finding an ally this week in celebrity (and booklover) Sarah Jessica Parker as she rallies fans to stand against the recent budget cuts mayor, and twenty-somethingth presidential hopeful, Bill de Blasio proposed to the already budget-strapped public service earlier this year.
According to Natalie O’Neill at the New York Post, Parker took to her email newsletter with a “creative online campaign” that urges people to leave virtual post-it notes proclaiming what they love most about their local branch at InvestInLibraries.org, a website created by the three major library systems in New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens) to help combat de Blasio’s 2020 budget cuts.
In Parker’s email, she wrote of her favorite local branch, Jefferson Market Library in Greenwich Village. “It is not only a regular neighborhood stop for books, programs, and more, it is a cornerstone, a beacon, and one of the most beloved buildings in our community. I don’t know what we’d do without it.”
O’Neill writes that by this past Sunday, “hundreds of people had posted ‘sticky notes’ with their names and that of their neighborhood lit house, including beloved ones in Midtown, Battery City and Yorkville in Manhattan.”
Over at amNewYork, Lisa L. Colangelo reports on the financial repercussions of a budget cut to the library systems:
According to a briefing paper by the City Council, the FY 19 city subsidy for all three systems was $387.7 million. This year’s proposed funding is $388.8 million, which is a slight increase.
But library officials said once annual rising costs are factored in, that actually comes to an $11 million cut, $3 million from baseline funding and $8 million from the City Council, which is not guaranteed.
Officials from the three systems have also argued for a $35 million funding increase to properly serve the growing needs of the patrons who come through library doors.
As a recent—yet frequent—library user of many Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) branches, I would hate to see any of the services the library offers disappear. It’s provided me access to books, movies, music, magazines, information, and perhaps most importantly, community connections I’m grateful for, every week.
If you live in Brooklyn, you can also visit the BPL website and sign a petition to increase funding to the libraries. NYPL and Queens Public Library have letters to sign too!
Alex Primiani is the associate director of publicity at Melville House.