Video & Text Testimony: New York Public Library President Testifies on Proposed FY2013 Budget Cuts

Posted on March 16, 2012 by


View/Read Text of Prepared Remarks of NYPL President Tony Marx before the New York City Council Committee on Finance (March 13, 2012) about a proposed $42 million cut to the NYPL budget.

From the Prepared Statement:

We are here today to discuss the FY13 Preliminary Budget and the impact of the Mayor’s proposed $42.6 million cut to the NYPL. This proposed cut is in addition to cuts totaling $20.7 million already imposed since FY08, for a grand total of $63.3 million.

This cumulative $63.3 million of cuts means that FY13 funding (excluding inflationary reimbursements) would be a full 44% lower than the FY08 adopted budget.  At that time, the restoration to our budget was baselined and the Mayor and the Speaker committed to fully funding six-day library service.  As you are aware, the level of cuts since FY08 has made it increasingly difficult for us to provide the type of library service that New Yorkers need.

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Despite the continued downward trend of City funding, the NYPL continues to experience a system-wide surge in use. Last year alone:

  • There were 15.1 million visits to our branch libraries, 2.5 million visits to our research libraries and 31.2 million visits to our website, nypl.org;
  • 27.9 million items were circulated and even more were consulted from among our collection of over 50 million books and other materials;
  • 44,501 New Yorkers attended job-related classes at the Library;
    • These classes remain vital to New Yorkers who are out of work, looking to change careers or start a new business.  Our librarians and volunteers provide a one stop shop for job-related assistance.
  • More than 44,922 programs and classes were offered system-wide; with an attendance 0f 967,324.

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To accommodate the new proposed cut of $42.6 million, we estimate a reduction of 682 positions, 610 through layoffs. The Library’s average weekly service would be reduced to four days and we would have to consider the possibility of closing libraries. We would also have to cut the library book budget.

The greatest impact of these cuts would be felt by the most vulnerable groups served by the Library: children, seniors, immigrants, non-English speakers and, especially, those living below the poverty line. Specific impacts include:

  • 11.7 million or 42% fewer items will be circulated (3.6 million to teens and children);
  • 6.2 million or 35% fewer visits will be made to libraries (1.9 million fewer by children and young people);
  • 380,000 fewer visits to library programs by young people;
  • 1.6 million or 44% fewer computer sessions, and severely reduced access to seniors, who often use the library in the morning. Many of these morning hours will be cut;
  • 14,200 fewer slots in career counseling sessions and job classes;
  • 1.4 million fewer visits and 2.3 million fewer materials circulated in our Lower Manhattan libraries, where 70% of families earn less than $50,000 per year and 47% of residents do not have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  • 990,000 fewer visits and 1.2 million fewer materials circulated in our Central Bronx libraries, where 72% of families earn less than $50,000 per year, nearly 40% of residents do not have a high school diploma or equivalent, and only 32% of residents are native English speakers;
  • 627,000 fewer visits, 1.3 million fewer items circulated, 2,300 fewer programs and 43,000 fewer visits by school age children to library programs in our Staten Island branches.

Read the Full Text/View Video

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