City Hall, NY – Today, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Finance Chair Justin Brannan held a press conference inside the Brooklyn Public Library’s Bay Ridge Branch to outline funding secured in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget for the city’s three public library systems – Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library and Queens Public Library. As neighborhood institutions and resource hubs, libraries have been a key budget priority for the Council. In June’s adopted budget, the Council was instrumental in restoring $36.2 million in proposed cuts to library funding, including $10 million for Brooklyn Public Library (BPL). Overall, the city budget allocated nearly $130 million in operations funding for BPL. In addition, the Council directly provided $9.6 in capital funding for infrastructure projects at BPL branches.
“Libraries are the bedrock of our community, offering free critical programs and resources to New Yorkers of all ages,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Through our advocacy with stakeholders across the city and tough negotiations, the Council was proud to restore $36.2 million in proposed funding cuts to all of our city’s library systems and deliver nearly $130 million to the Brooklyn Public Library. For the benefit of all New Yorkers, the Council will continue working to protect our libraries and secure the investments they need to adequately serve communities.”
This critical expense funding allows the three library systems to maintain programs and staffing to meet growing demands, retain their physical and digital collections, and preserve universal six-day service. Capital dollars will help continue progress on facility expansions and improvements to ensure more branches receive needed upgrades.
“When the Speaker and I sat down at the negotiating table a few months ago, Brooklyn Public Library was looking at a $10 million cut,” said Council Member and Finance Chair Justin Brannan. “This would have eliminated all Sunday service hours, curtailed Saturday service at many branches and terminated 80 open positions. The Council knew we couldn’t let this happen. Libraries transcend partisan politics. Everybody loves their local library! Eventually, we knew this was a budget fight worth having and one we knew we would have to win. Through the leadership of Speaker Adams, the Council fought hard and saved the Brooklyn Public Library from the chopping block with 7-day a week service and comprehensive programming for babies, kids, teens, adults, and seniors alike. Now more than ever, our libraries aren’t just about books – they are tabernacles of freedom.”
New York City’s three library systems serve millions of visitors annually and play vital roles in communities by providing ESL and digital literacy classes, career readiness training, reading programs, financial counseling, and more. Last year, in response to book bans across the country, the Brooklyn Public Library opened its e-book collection to young people nationwide by offering free library cards to those who applied.
“Brooklyn Public Library is deeply appreciative of Speaker Adams and Finance Chair Justin Brannan’s long-time support, without which the Library would be a very different place, said Linda Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library. “Their leadership and dedication led to the preservation of weekend library service, strong collections, and protection of vital programs and services for our borough in the most recent city budget. And amid a record number of book bans, we applaud Speaker Adams and Council Member Brannan for their responsive civic leadership during the budget process and for sending a message to New Yorkers and nationwide about the power of public libraries.”