Socialist Party USA, NYC Local Opposes Proposed Slash to Library Budget

Monday, June 1, 2009 New York, NY- On June 30th 2009, the New York City Council will vote on a budget that includes a 22% cut to the public library systems. If passed, this cut will result in the loss of 943 jobs, and severe reduction of library hours. Brooklyn Public Library hours are proposed to be cut to 25 hours a week to a Monday - Friday 1pm-6pm schedule - eliminating Saturday service. These reductions would bring library operating hours to the lowest since the 1970’s. The materials budget for the city’s three public library systems will also be slashed.

The Socialist Party USA, NYC Local (SPNYC) views these reductions as another part of of a series budget cuts designed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that negatively impact working-class and poor New Yorkers. Even worse, they come at a time when library attendance is up. For many New Yorkers, the library serves as their only access to the internet, a valuable employment resource in tough economic times. The library is also a safe place for children and teens to go after school. Additional staff cuts and materials budget cuts will lead to a shortage of staff and an out-of-date and under-stocked book collection.

“The public library is one of our rights as residents of this city,” says Zelig Stern, Secretary of the SPNYC, “no budget crisis is so great that it justifies denying us our rights. We should tax the rich to clean up their mess.”

The SPNYC vehemently opposes these and other cuts that will reduce public services for New Yorkers. This is nothing more than an attempt to solve the current city fiscal crisis by cutting necessary services used by working class and poor people. Libraries and other educational institutions should serve as centers for community enrichment and empowerment.

The SPNYC calls on the city council to oppose the proposed budget cuts. We call for fully funded, fully staffed libraries that operate seven days a week. Mayor Bloomberg and the city council can solve the fiscal crisis through progressive taxation in the form of a millionaires tax, as well as a property tax on stock and bond holdings and taxes on financial transactions.


For more information and interviews please contact:
Kristin Schall

Socialist Party USA, NYC Local is a democratic socialist organization that believes that the vast wealth of society should be used to fulfill human needs.