Thank you to Toni Morrison for this message on behalf of our City's libraries!
My second job as a teenager was shelving books at the only library in Lorain, Ohio. Every shift started with a tall stack of returned books—fiction, history, drama, poetry, everything. It didn't pay much, but it was magical. Then I got fired.
The trouble was that instead of replacing the books on the shelves, I kept reading them. A title would catch my eye, I'd crack the book open for just a quick look, and pretty soon I'd forget the stack of returns. I didn't get far in my career as a librarian, but that experience opened my eyes and shaped my future.
That's what libraries do. Here in New York, libraries connect people to resources that are life-changing. Lifesaving. Citizenship classes, story times for kids, job searches, and so much more.
City Hall is deciding right now on the budget that will go to libraries in the next year. Your help is urgently needed to make sure it's clear just how many of us love and depend on our libraries.
Words have power. And specifically, your words have power. In the past, your letters have convinced City Hall to invest in libraries—the places where all of us can retreat into a world of learning and books.
Libraries are essential to communities, and no other place comes close. Every week within these walls, children attend story time, immigrants come to ESOL and citizenship classes, job seekers update their skills, and many more discover books that change their lives.
The library staff workers, who are far more dedicated than I was as a teenager, are huge repositories of knowledge. They are also the champions of their communities who make sure the library remains a safe and welcoming space for all who enter.
I wrote to our City leaders because without their funding and support, our libraries cannot afford to continue providing their many vital services and many of our older buildings cannot get the repairs they urgently need.
I can think of no better place for my tax dollars to go than investing in the libraries that make New York City an incredible place to live.
If you feel the same, don't wait. Act. Sign your name.
Thank you for all your support and for your active citizenship.
Photo of Toni Morrison © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders