As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council negotiate next year's budget, advocates are raising the alarm about deep cuts to libraries. Mayor Bloomberg's spending plan would reduce aid to libraries by $74 million.
The Queens Borough Public Library says it could close up to 14 branches, and let go of more than 300 employees--about 40 percent of its staff.
The libraries have long been a bargaining chip in budget discussions between mayors and the City Council. But the Council usually manages to soften the fiscal blow, and there haven't been widespread layoffs in libraries since the early 1990s. This year could be different, warns Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who himself used to work in the Queens library system.This Tuesday, library workers will rally to protest the proposed cuts, and Van Bramer will hold hearings on library budgets on Friday