Libraries at Risk

An article entitled Libraries Reach FY2011—Some Relieved, All Wary in American Libraries, the online magazine of the American Library Association News, reports on recent funding activity for New York area public libraries. To summarize:

  • The New York Public Library staff members averted a catastrophic $37-million budget cut. The NYPL web page says that 130,000 people wrote letters and made phone calls toprotest. The library also received $144,000 in online donations. All of this will allow the library to stay open at least five days a week.
  • Queens Library’s web page gave public thanks to elected officials and supporters alike for restoring $17 million to the budget, thus “making libraries a priority, for ensuring every one of our libraries remains open an average of five days a week.” This means that its 62 libraries will remain open and that it can maintain an average service schedule of five days a week.
  • Brooklyn Public Library still maintains its Keep Your Library OPEN web site in order to avert closure of 16 libraries, severely limited weekend hours, layoffs of hundreds of library staff members and cuts in library materials, free programs and free public computer sessions. Brooklyn Public also had funding restored as noted on its webpage thanking supporters.
  • The New Jersey Library Association praised the budget agreement between Gov. Chris Christie and the legislature restoring $4.299 million restored for library programs.

Researchers at Brooklyn Law School look to many of the print and electronic resources available at the BLS Library. They also look beyond the law library to public libraries for non-legal materials. To imagine life without public libraries, read Jonathan Stock’s article Chambers of the Sea: Who Needs Law Libraries? It’s All Free on the Internet in the July 2010 issue of AALL Spectrum. Stock wrote the article as an allegory after his efforts to help save many of the court law libraries in Connecticut from possible oblivion.