City Hall Rally

NYC Libraries Rally to Restore $58.3M As Library Services Dwindle

Most Libraries Will Lose A Full Day Of Service If Cuts Go Through — In Addition to Continued Elimination of Seven-Day Service

Visuals available here

May 21, 2024 – The presidents of the city’s three public library systems will testify at the New York City Council Tuesday about the harmful impacts the $58.3M in proposed budget cuts would have on libraries. If enacted, these cuts would severely limit library service, with the vast majority of branches in all five boroughs being only open for five days a week. Currently, all NYC libraries are open for six days a week, a standard of service New Yorkers have enjoyed since a successful campaign in 2015. This is on top of the continued elimination of seven-day service, which was suspended in November following mid-year cuts.

Specifically, the cuts would mean -

  • More than half of BPL branches dropping down to five-day a week service
  • Close to 60% of NYPL branches will drop down to five-day service
  • QPL will end Saturday service at all locations except Central and Flushing libraries

Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson, New York Public Library President and CEO Anthony W. Marx, and Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott will also call for an end to the so-called “budget dance,” which has led to staffing shortages, unplanned closures, deferred maintenance, canceled storytimes and additional harmful impacts. The testimony follows a 9 AM rally on the steps of City Hall with Library supporters.

Four times in the past four years (FY21 to now) libraries have been hit with damaging mid-year budget cuts. And last year, NYC libraries were spared from proposed budget cuts in June, only to be hit with significant mid-year budget cuts four months later, leading to the immediate elimination of seven-day service. On Tuesday, the presidents will testify that the continuous uncertainty surrounding library funding is making it virtually impossible to engage in long-term planning, including hiring and program planning – all of which harms New Yorkers who need the free services libraries provide the most.

Copies of their prepared remarks are available at

If the proposed budget cuts go through, the majority of NYC public libraries will lose one full day of service, leaving most libraries open for just five days a week. All NYC public libraries have been open six days a week since 2015. The library presidents will also testify that they expect branches will be subject to frequent unplanned closures and reduced operating hours due to staffing shortages brought on by budget cuts and the fiscal uncertainty that has prevented hiring. This is all in addition to the continued elimination of most Sunday service from the earlier cuts.

 At the City Hall rally prior to the joint hearing of the Council’s Finance Committee and Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations Committee, Library leadership, staff, allies, union leaders, elected officials and supporters from throughout the five boroughs called for full restoration of library funding, citing the crucial role libraries play in every corner of the city.

The $58.3M in proposed cuts for FY25, if enacted, would have a lasting negative impact on library services and resources, in addition to the loss of universal six-day service and continued elimination of all seven-day service, including –

  • Indefinitely delayed reopenings of renovated branches, many in historically marginalized communities. The cuts and proposed funding reductions mean we cannot afford to staff these branches.  
  • Further reducing spending on library materials, programming, and building maintenance and repairs

Additionally, the City has cut $125M from the capital budgets for libraries, the first cut to library capital funding in 16 years. With over $1.125B in priority capital needs at public libraries, the City should be adding funding to the capital plan for libraries, not reducing them.

New Yorkers can send an online letter in support of New York City libraries to their elected officials through BPL, NYPL and QPL’s campaign page at Already, 100,000 New Yorkers have sent online letters to City Hall.

“It’s clear that New Yorkers love and need their libraries. Yet here we are once again, tin cups in hand outside City Hall, pleading to have our funding restored. This budget dance is exhausting, and horrifically unfair to the patrons who rely on the vital services we provide in every corner of this city. Enough with the games – our funding should be restored and baselined,” said Anthony W. Marx, President of The New York Public Library.

“From increased visits to new card applications, demand for library service continues to grow. We should be delighted, but instead we may be forced to further reduce hours and programming, potentially losing yet another day of service just when our patrons need us most. Our City leaders know how much New Yorkers depend on their libraries, and we are hopeful that together, they will come to our aid and fully restore library funding,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public.

"This is the greatest city in the world, and New Yorkers should have the greatest public libraries, with weekend service, diverse programs, and robust access to books and other resources. Through the City Council’s tremendous advocacy, our ongoing partnership with the Administration, and the outpouring of support from the public, we remain hopeful we can find a way to fully fund libraries and prevent the dire consequences of the cuts from becoming a reality,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott.

“Libraries are important institutions that provide language classes, theater and music performances, access to technology, career and financial services, and countless other opportunities, all for free. The doors of the library are open to everyone, but with further cuts being proposed by the administration, those doors could be open only 5 days a week. Data demonstrates library usage has been rising and the City Council is firmly committed to restoring the funding to ensure these vital spaces have the resources they need to serve communities across the city,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries.

"Libraries offer critical services to our communities, our young people, and the most vulnerable among us. The $58.3 million in proposed budget cuts pose a detriment to our library systems on top of existing reductions to their operating hours, programming, and maintenance. New Yorkers need fully funded libraries to keep our city strong," said Henry Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37.

"Like so many New Yorkers, libraries have played a huge role in my life. I spent all of high school working at my local NYPL and getting to know all of the people that went to the library for books, computer access, community programs, and so much more. Debilitating cuts to libraries rob all of us of the resources that help us grow and bring us together. The Council will not turn the page on budget negotiations without a full restoration to library funding. It's what New Yorkers want, and it's what we deserve," said Council Member Shaun Abreu.

“Libraries are the beloved pillars of our communities, providing not just education and youth services, but forming the community foundations for public health and safety. Our libraries serve as sites of after school programming, hubs of community-based organizations, cooling centers in the summer, warming centers in the winter, and many other functions. The Mayor’s mid-year budget cuts have already severely limited the services that libraries can provide. Now, the Mayor's proposed FY25 cuts would seek to end universal six-day service for Queens Public Library. The Mayor’s decision to gut libraries is shameful; Mayor Adams is playing politics with our community’s well-being. I am calling on the Mayor to reverse the November PEG so that residents in Western Queens, and across the city, can once again access the knowledge, resources, and welcoming spaces that they deserve,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán.

“As a staunch advocate for education and community resources, I stand firmly with our public libraries in opposing the proposed budget cuts. Libraries are vital hubs of knowledge, support, and opportunity for all New Yorkers. These cuts threaten to undermine the essential services libraries provide, from job-search assistance and ESOL classes to safe spaces for children and teens. We must prioritize the funding necessary to keep our libraries open and fully functional. Together, we must ensure that every New Yorker has access to the invaluable resources our libraries offer,” said Council Member Mercedes Narcisse.

“Public libraries are among New York’s most important institutions. It is hard to imagine how they would have been developed from scratch today, but we are blessed to have inherited them from previous generations. We are obligated to help them survive and thrive, to the benefit of all New Yorkers. We must recognize the unparalleled contributions to education, public safety, and community-building that our libraries provide and commit to full investment in them – and absolutely never any cuts,” said Council Member Chi Ossé.

“Our public libraries are vital community hubs that provide essential services that New Yorkers depend on. The Mayor has already cut service to six days per week and has proposed closing all weekend library operations. This City Council will keep fighting to ensure our libraries secure the funding they deserve,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler.

“As a mother, I remember the very first time I brought my daughters to our local library – the joy and excitement in their eyes and their eagerness to explore all of the literature that the Brooklyn Public Library had to offer. Every child deserves to have access to the incredible resources our libraries provide, but the proposed cuts to our libraries will only hinder this. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in saying: No cuts to our libraries!” said City Council Member Susan Zhuang.


About the Campaign

The #InvestInLibraries campaign is a partnership between the city’s three public library systems—Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library—and other library supporters across the city.  Since the campaign launched in 2015, the City has allocated additional funding for programming as well as critical capital dollars to help address the over $1 billion in needs facing the city’s aging library infrastructure. Despite this important support, libraries confront rising costs and increased demand for more services and programs (from New Yorkers and the City). The campaign urges the City to restore and increase funding to meet rising needs, demands, and costs





BPL: Fritzi Bodenheimer,, 929-276-4232; NYPL: Amy Geduldig,, 212-592-7177; QPL: Elisabeth de Bourbon,, 917-650-3815