The city has restored a majority of the funding that had been proposed to be cut to the Queens Public Library’s system, the library’s chief executive officer said.
Thomas Galante, the library’s director and CEO, said the city’s budget had originally proposed cutting a total $25 million to the library’s system.
But the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have restored $23 million in funding to the Queens Public Library, making it the largest budget restoration in its history.
“They kept public libraries a top priority during a most difficult budget,” Galante said of the mayor and the Council. “Every layoff has been averted so library doors can remain open to enrich the lives of New Yorkers.”
The restored funding will ensure a five-day-per-week schedule at every Queens community library, Galante said. Under the cuts, a number of borough libraries branches would have been forced to reduce services to two to three days a week.
In addition, an estimated 500 library employees would have been handed pink slips had the cuts gone through, Galante said.
Northeast Queens leaders said the restoration of the library’s budget would prevent the loss of vital community services across the borough.
“Our libraries in Queens are already working on bare bones budgets and any further cuts would have had a detrimental impact on residents who rely on those services,” State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, said.
Galante said hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions and postcards protesting budget cuts were sent to City Hall this month. An estimated 95,000 were sent from Queens, he said.
Northeast Queens library chapters include Douglaston-Little Neck, Bayside, Windsor Park, Bay Terrace, Flushing, Glen Oaks, Auburndale and Oakland Gardens.
The library’s upcoming projects include improved online services, an e-reader program and new self-service circulation technology.