ULU Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire – Christine Quinn

Candidate Name

Christine Quinn

In your opinion, what is the role of the library in the City?

The only thing I ever wanted to do was be involved in politics and government—I attribute this almost exclusively to the library at my parish elementary school, St. Patrick’s. It contained a section on biographies of political people, famous people, and famous women—from Susan B. Anthony to Eleanor Roosevelt—and I loved those books. I read them till they were dog-eared. Libraries are extremely personal to me, and I know how important they can be. They are special, peaceful places where job-seekers can learn new skills, immigrants can get information on how to assimilate and access services, residents without computers can use the internet, or people can just shut out noise and distractions and focus on a book in silence.  I named my autobiography “With Patience and Fortitude” after the marble lions in front of the Public Library on 5th Avenue in part as a tribute to the things that have a special, permanent place in the lives of New Yorkers, and our library system is among them.  I am proud of our libraries and look forward to supporting them as mayor.

Libraries in New York City are facing $106.7M in cuts in the current executive budget. What would you do to prevent the “budget dance” of proposed cuts and restorations that New York’s libraries have been forced to endure for the past four years?

I avoided the budget dance altogether when I made sure the $106.7 million stayed in the budget.  I personally find library closings unthinkable and believe that we will simply have to continue making library funding a top priority.  I have protected library funding consistently for the past eight budgets as Speaker, and I will make sure this pattern continues as mayor.

In March of this year, District Council 37 launched a campaign for the establishment of a permanent funding stream for the City’s public library systems, proposing “city legislation to allocate 2.5 percent of existing citywide property tax levies for dedicated, baseline public library funding.” Would you support such a baseline funding model for our libraries, and why or why not?

In 2006, I worked to establish a baseline of six-day service for all our public libraries across the City.  Despite the 2008-2009 recession, I have fought to maintain library services at as close to that level as possible, and I will bring back full six-day service when I’m mayor. If we had been required to maintain the same level of library services throughout the recession and the recovery, we would have had to make deeper cuts elsewhere.  I do believe in baseline funding for libraries in order to avoid the annual cuts and restorations, and to enable libraries to better plan for the future, but I believe that committing to a dedicated funding stream is a mistake because it restricts the City’s fiscal flexibility.

New York City’s three public library systems are open an average of 43 hours a week, compared to roughly 50 hours a week in Chicago and Boston, 55 in Toronto and 70 at the Columbus Metropolitan Library (Ohio). How would your administration support public libraries in New York City in order to expand hours and services?

I agree that New York’s libraries should expand hours and services.  We need to be a leader in this area, given how many people live in this city and rely on our libraries.  As mayor I will fight to increase library hours, bringing back six-day service with a goal of seven-day service when funding allows. Our libraries are critically important to the people of this city and I believe they should be open as much as possible.

Public libraries are commonly known as “the people’s university,” providing resources and services for young adults, English-language learners, small businesses, job seekers, seniors, and more. What would you do to help libraries in their work to support lifelong learning for all ages?

I recently proposed using the city’s 206 libraries as community resource centers, or “Mini City Halls,” improving delivery and access of services.  Under this plan, libraries will serve as a one-stop shop for New Yorkers seeking help navigating access to important programs and services.  With Mini City Halls, we’ll bring all that City Hall has to offer right to New Yorker’s doorsteps. This program will be community-specific, providing health screening, English lessons and tax preparation help, as well as many other services.   Additionally, as I mentioned above, the most important step in helping libraries in their work is keeping them open, and I will continue to make this a priority when I am mayor.

Tagged with:
Posted in Uncategorized

The Art of Librarianship

050

Urban Librarians Unite will be exhibiting as part of the DUMBO Arts Festival in September and we couldn’t be more pleased about it. We will be showing one of our Mini Libraries and setting up a VLB cart next to it as well as doing pop up blanket storytime in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.

This is going to be our street librarianship total package.

084We have always bemoaned that little libraries have no reference element, there is no librarian engagement, it is a straight circ model. At the same time, when we are doing VLB work people always ask if they can take the books (It’s a reference collection so no, you absolutely positively cannot take the books). Having them side by side is going to be pretty ideal. It will be our street library total package (yeah people have free ebooks too).

Volunteers are still needed. It is a really fun event, vols will be doing street ref and reading to kids but you will also get a chance to walk around a little and look at the art yourself. This is a great chance to not just ATTEND an arts event in New York City but be PART of one.

Contact us to get details and sign up for Volunteer Library Brigade training today.

urbanlibrariansunite@gmail.com

 

Posted in Uncategorized

ULU Needs Your Help!

137

Urban Librarians Unite has had an incredible year. We have gone from our traditional role of library advocacy and moved into year round programming and professional development. There is even a chapter on the west coast, ULU Bay Area.

044We were able to respond very directly to Hurricane Sandy and provide disaster relief to communities and libraries hit by the storm. ULU had an incredibly successful Urban Librarians’ Conference where speakers and attendees from all across the country converged together in Brooklyn to explore issues for libraries in the city.

Urban Librarians Unite has started to train and dispatch its Volunteer Library Brigades to put teams of street librarians out into the public. Of course Urban Librarians Unite continues to fight for libraries in New York City having been integral to over $300 Million in budget restorations over the last four years.bicmini2

As Urban Librarians Unite’s ideas have grown so have our responsibilities and expenses. With rent, office space, transportation costs, and legal fees our tiny little org now has overhead. We have been very fortunate to get some grants this year but we still rely heavily on the generous support of individuals and institutions. We are a 501c3 so all donations to Urban Librarians Unite are tax deductible.

We are still an entirely voluntary organization with no paid staff. Every dollar you donate goes to helping us do the work that we do to help libraries. Please click below and find a level of contribution that is a fit for you. We appreciate every bit of help you can give to us to help us to continue to directly impact our communities while promoting urban libraries and librarianship.

http://urbanlibrariansunite.org/donate/donations/

gopeter

 

Posted in Uncategorized

ULU Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire – Anthony Weiner

Candidate Name

Anthony Weiner

In your opinion, what is the role of the library in the City?

Libraries are a refuge to expand your mind and world. They play a critical role in fostering educational growth and developing an informed citizenry. In public libraries, New Yorkers should find uninterrupted access to digital and print information. Beyond that, libraries serve as community hubs – places for New Yorkers to come together for area programming, with access to and training in the tech field that have transformed the global landscape. Moreover, public libraries should be responsive to particular community needs so that all New Yorker, young and old, can access the best of our educational resources.

Libraries in New York City are facing $106.7M in cuts in the current executive budget. What would you do to prevent the “budget dance” of proposed cuts and restorations that New York’s libraries have been forced to endure for the past four years?

In recent years, the process of crafting a city budget has been plagued by a lack of transparency. The budget dance is the consequence of unnecessary grandstanding and political posturing. In Keys to the City, I proposed policies that cut waste while providing the public with the tools to keep government accountable. By doing so, we can save valuable library services facing cuts. Changes to the budgetary process can best happen if the public can keep track of the proposals of its elected representatives, which is why I have proposed digitizing the city budget and publishing all contracts so that the public can have a voice in the negotiation process.

In March of this year, District Council 37 launched a campaign for the establishment of a permanent funding stream for the City’s public library systems, proposing “city legislation to allocate 2.5 percent of existing citywide property tax levies for dedicated, baseline public library funding.” Would you support such a baseline funding model for our libraries, and why or why not?

I support library funding and will investigate which funding mechanism will be most effective to support expanded resources, as New Yorkers deserve both good libraries and cost-effective solutions.

New York City’s three public library systems are open an average of 43 hours a week, compared to roughly 50 hours a week in Chicago and Boston, 55 in Toronto and 70 at the Columbus Metropolitan Library (Ohio). How would your administration support public libraries in New York City in order to expand hours and services?

In the City that never sleeps, our public libraries should not have operating hours that lag behind other cities. In Keys to The City, I have proposed a number of solutions on how to meet our budgetary needs without depriving New Yorkers of important services. By eliminating waste and increasing revenue, the City government will have the necessary resources to keep public libraries open.

Public libraries are commonly known as “the people’s university,” providing resources and services for young adults, English-language learners, small businesses, job seekers, seniors, and more. What would you do to help libraries in their work to support lifelong learning for all ages?

Public libraries are nerve centers for connecting all citizens with the global information resources needed to improve knowledge and skills. By enacting policies that grow the City economy and increase the City’s discretionary spending, my administration will focus on improving and expanding services – like Public Libraries – so they continue to be a vital source for all New Yorkers.

Tagged with:
Posted in Uncategorized

ULU Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire – John Liu

Candidate Name

John Liu

In your opinion, what is the role of the library in the City?

Libraries are important community cultural institutions that have many vital roles in this City. Among these priceless roles are: they are the gateway to knowledge, first through the book collections, and now, increasing through internet access for those who do not have it; they provide a quiet place to study and/or work; and for some, it is the place where many children are introduced to the joys of reading through many of the libraries children’s programs.

Libraries in New York City are facing $106.7M in cuts in the current executive budget. What would you do to prevent the “budget dance” of proposed cuts and restorations that New York’s libraries have been forced to endure for the past four years?

I have spoken out about the terrible effects of the “budget dance” upon some of the most important organizations that we fund. This annual “dance” over a relatively small amount of the budget, but which supports important programs, distracts us from the negotiations on the larger parts of the budget, which are conducted outside of public scrutiny. I would have ended this “budget dance” and put the scrutiny on the larger part of the budget, where it belongs.

In March of this year, District Council 37 launched a campaign for the establishment of a permanent funding stream for the City’s public library systems, proposing “city legislation to allocate 2.5 percent of existing citywide property tax levies for dedicated, baseline public library funding.” Would you support such a baseline funding model for our libraries, and why or why not?

I would have supported baseline funding for the libraries. They are too valuable to be subject to an annual budget dance, which diverts valuable library staff time and effort just to try to maintain a minimum budget.

New York City’s three public library systems are open an average of 43 hours a week, compared to roughly 50 hours a week in Chicago and Boston, 55 in Toronto and 70 at the Columbus Metropolitan Library (Ohio). How would your administration support public libraries in New York City in order to expand hours and services?

A good place to start would have been to baseline the library’s budget, but we must also increase the funding. In my People’s Budget, I propose to keep libraries open seven days a week and to expand their hours. I would raise the funding necessary to do this through a more progressive tax system where the wealthiest New Yorkers pay more, increase commercial real estate tax rates, charge private equity firms the Unincorporated Business Tax for carried interest, and clawback tax benefits from firms that don’t create the jobs they promise, among other things.

Public libraries are commonly known as “the people’s university,” providing resources and services for young adults, English-language learners, small businesses, job seekers, seniors, and more. What would you do to help libraries in their work to support lifelong learning for all ages?

Libraries do a terrific job in providing all of the service you discuss above. The main issue is that libraries do not get adequately funded. As discussed in the prior question, I would work to ensure libraries get adequate funding to fulfill and expand on its important work.

Tagged with:
Posted in Uncategorized