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.