A few weeks ago, we got to thinking: what if we sent all mayoral candidates a little questionnaire about the future of libraries in New York? Would they ignore us, or would they consider libraries an important enough campaign hot topic to respond? And what would they have to say?
So within ULU, we put our heads together, debated and discussed, and finally agreed on five broad but succinct questions. We sent to all contenders for mayor, and followed up with a courtesy phone call to their campaign offices. We’ll be following up again with each candidate before questionnaires are due back by May 30th.
Stay tuned–we’ll be posting the candidates’ answers here as they roll in.
Here is the final questionnaire:
1. In your opinion, what is the role of the library in the City?
2. Libraries in New York City are facing $106.7M in cuts in the current executive budget. As mayor, 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?
3. 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 your administration support such a baseline funding model for our libraries, and why or why not?
4. 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?
5. 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. As mayor, what would you do to help libraries in their work to support lifelong learning for all ages?