|This e-mail showed up in my inbox with the subject Are You There, Mr. Mayor? It’s Me, Judy Blume:|
Librarians are my heroes.
I’ve said that before, and I’ll continue to say it, proudly and adamantly.
Librarians are the protectors of intellectual freedom. They are the defenders of books and imagination and thought. They are on the front lines, working every day to improve literacy, to close the digital divide, and to spark creativity in everyone who walks through their doors.
Despite this role, NYC libraries have been cut $65 million in annual operating funds since 2008. They are down hours and about 1,000 staff members. If that funding was restored to the City’s three library systems, the total budget for public libraries would be less than half of one percent of the total City budget. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Additionally, library buildings themselves are not up to par. The City’s 217 branches need $1.4 billion worth of maintenance and renovations over 10 years. They leak. They are overcrowded. They don’t have enough outlets. Really? This is not acceptable.
As you probably know, I’ve never been one to accept the status quo. So join me in taking a stand. The City will release its executive budget soon — now’s our chance to go out and make it right.
We’ve got a little window, right now, to fix serious problems with New York City’s libraries.