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Mayor urged to lay off of BPL’s budget

The Brooklyn Paper
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Community Board 10 has jumped on the book−lovers bandwagon.

At the board’s May meeting, which was held at the Norwegian Christian Home, 1250 67th Street, members voted unanimously to write to the mayor and all other relevant city officials to demand that the city not make a proposed $17.5 million cut to BPL’s budget for the next fiscal year.

That cut, Bay Ridge resident and librarian Rita Meade had earlier told the board, would translate into fewer hours of library service, as well as cuts to programming.

“We are in trouble,” Meade stressed, contending that, “The results of the cut would be disastrous for the library and the residents of Brooklyn. The library is a community center and a lifeline. In these economic times, people need the library more than ever.”

Among the “immediate effects” of the budget cut, Meade added, would be a reduction in operating hours to 25 per week for libraries in the BPL system. Libraries would be “open five hours per day,” and there would be “no weekend hours,” said Meade. “So a person who works past 5 p.m. won’t see an open library in Brooklyn.”

The loss of library hours would be felt by the borough’s youngsters, said Meade. “The library is a safe place,” she told the group. “If it’s not funded properly, they (the kids) are not going to have a place to go.”

A total of 175 jobs would be cut, Meade added. In addition, she said, the cuts would mean that the system would be able to purchase 185,000 fewer books, CDs and DVDs for use by library patrons.

Meade urged her listeners to make their opposition to the cuts known, by signing a petition on line (access it at http:⁄⁄vincentgentile.blogspot.com) or at a branch, by writing the mayor and other elected officials, and by calling 311. “Even if you don’t use the library, kids need the library, adults need the library,” Meade urged.

City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, the chair of the council’s Libraries Committee, who had launched the petition drive, added his voice to Meade’s during the meeting. Of the cuts being proposed by the administration for the city’s three library systems, he told board members, “Not only would the cuts devastate the library systems, they would put us last among the 20 largest cities in America in the number of hours we keep our libraries open.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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