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City’s Libraries Say New Gov’t Policies are Squeezing Their Budgets

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Wally Gobetz

The New York City Public Library’s Port Richmond Branch on Staten Island.

New York City’s libraries warn they might have to cut hours or close branches if the city doesn’t boost funding to keep up with labor costs—especially new employee benefits like a higher minimum wage and paid family leave.

It’s not just workers who are costing more, library officials say: Books are only becoming more popular as the systems’ attendance grows, but they aren’t getting any cheaper.

The city’s three library systems—the Brooklyn Public Library, the Queens Library and the New York Public Library, which serves the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island—say they need $16 million more than Mayor de Blasio’s latest expense-budget proposal of $344 million. They’re also asking for $60 million in capital funding, split equally three ways, as a step toward fixing $1.1 billion in backlogged repair needs.

In its April budget response to the mayor, the Council endorsed both requests. The question now is how much of a priority the libraries will be as the Council and mayor sit down for budget talks before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

So the libraries are mounting a major push as the final

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This article was reposted from City Limits, an independent online news source.

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