Funds Restored to Brooklyn Public Library
In a recent issue of the New York Review of Books, Zadie Smith, author of the novel White Teeth, writes about the closing of a library in Willesden Green in London (pictured left): ”I don’t think the argument in favor of libraries is especially ideological or ethical. I would agree even with those who say it’s not especially logical. I think for most people it’s emotional. No logos or ethos but pathos. This is not a denigration: emotion also has a place in public policy. We’re humans, not robots.”
I would guess that she will be happy to learn that funds have been restored to the public libraries of Brooklyn.
Indeed, the Brooklyn Public Library has averted disaster. Funds have been restored and layoffs won’t be necessary. Good news all around.
The final budget restores $25 million in City funding for the Library out of a proposed $27 million cut, which—at 33% of the Library’s operating budget would have meant staff layoffs and greatly reduced library services.
Library fans were encouraged send emails to elected officials, sign petitions and advocate against the cuts.
The FY2013 budget now allows the Library to continue to offer free access to educational and cultural programs, job search and small business resources, Wi-Fi and internet-ready computers while avoiding any layoffs or drastic cuts to service.
“We are very grateful the budget agreed to by the Mayor and Speaker restores funding for libraries and I want to thank Chairman Recchia and the entire Brooklyn delegation for their continued support of Brooklyn Public Library. The adopted budget will allow the Library to maintain our existing service levels and avoid layoffs,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library.
Johnson also offered thanks to those who advocated on behalf of the library. “Thank you to the countless patrons, volunteers, staff members and elected officials who advocated on the Library’s behalf. Your dedication to our cause is the reason why we will be able to keep our doors open and continue to serve our communities.”
If you don’t subscribe to the New York Review of Books (or feel like buying it at the newstand) read it at the library. Smith’s article is an poignant plea for the continued existence of libraries.
“British libraries received over 300 million visits last year, and this despite the common neglect of the various councils that oversee them. In North West London people are even willing to form human chains in front of them. People have taken to writing long pieces in newspapers to “defend” them. Just saying the same thing over and over again. Defend our libraries. We like libraries. Can we keep our libraries? We need to talk about libraries. Pleading, like children. Is that really where we are?”