Northeast Queens leaders predicted “catastrophic” results when the Queens Public Library cuts more than 400 staff members at branches across the borough this summer.
The library operates branches in as well as Bayside, Bay Terrace, Oakland Gardens and Bellerose.
“It’s going to be catastrophic,” said Jerry Iannece, chairman of Community Board 11. “We’re already being shortchanged in so many ways more than anywhere in the city. Already, we have shorter hours. It’s intrinsically unfair. I just hope the City Council can find some funding to restore those cuts.”
Pink slips were issued to librarians, clerks, custodians and other library employees earlier this month.
Thomas Galante, the library’s chief executive officer, said the cuts would become effective on July 1 if the Council does not restore money into the city’s executive budget for Fiscal Year 2012.
“Layoffs are the most painful thing any organization can face,” Galante said. “Every staff member is an asset to the community. We will be working collaboratively with elected officials at all levels of government toward averting the loss.”
The city’s budget calls for $25.3 million in cuts to the Queens Library system.
There will be a rally against the proposed cuts on May 26 on the steps of City Hall.
The library has grown in circulation and programming during the past few years, said Joanne King, a spokeswoman for the library.
But a hiring freeze in 2008 has left the library’s system with a shortage of jobs, leading to reduced hours, she said.
Queens leaders said they feared that the library would be forced to cut hours of service and close branches if the City Council does not restore funding.