June 25, 2013 By Christian Murray
In Queens, 428 library jobs were on the line, with the possibility of 36 of the 62 libraries in the borough having to close.
The proposed city budget—put forward by Mayor Michael Bloomberg– called for a $29.6 million cut in library funding in Queens, contributing to the $106 million in cuts that were proposed to libraries citywide.
Yesterday, it was announced that with the latest budget deal reached between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Council these cuts will not take place.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the complete restoration of funding for these vital services,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who is also the chairman of the Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries.
The restoration in funding is significant for the Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City branches. Queens Libraries estimated that the cuts would have halved the number of visitors to these three libraries as well as the number of books lent—given the limited hours. In 2012, the libraries in these three neighborhoods—collectively– generated an estimated 692,000 visitors and lent 771,000 books.
“It has always been my goal to restore every cent of the $106 million in cuts to libraries. This record restoration saves over 1,500 jobs, prevents libraries from closing and allows 5 and 6 day service to continue City-wide,” Van Bramer said. “The truth is you can’t have good neighborhoods without libraries.”
I would feel bad about the loss of staff, but i in all hinesty have never been to the sunnuside library without having issue with a few of the staff. not personally as much as observing.
I really only did this once, a couple of years ago. They were good-quality books, too.
Do you really think it caused headaches? They all seem so relaxed when I go there.
@43rd & 43rd: Yes, the Sunnyside library got RFID readers, with a drop box that only opens up to accept a book with the coding. Remember when you couldn’t return a book after hours because they had to lock drop box door because jerks would throw cigarettes in them and other nonsense? No more since the library was renovated a couple years back.
I’m sure part of it with eBooks is what the library chooses to buy, but publishers don’t necessarily have all their backlist in eBook format, nor do they necessarily make their front list available for licensing. There’s a host of issues with eBook lending (which seems to be resolving itself).
@SuperWittySmitty: Why not donate your books to the thrift store on Greenpoint? The one a couple doors down from ABC sells books. I’ve given away a number of books there, and picked up some decent reads.
@SuperWittySmitty. If you’re serious about the book donation, you should take the books to a thrift store, instead, or ask the front desk if you can donate them. You may be making unnecessary headaches for the staff by not going through their proper channels.
I use the Sunnyside Library all the time and find that it’s quite pleasant. I search for and reserve books online, and get an email when they have been delivered. I use the automated services to check out & return books all the time- no problems. I see that much of the staff has been eliminated due to all of the automation, which is a shame but I understand. Still, there’s always someone to help out when I need assistance. I do agree that too many of the DVDs they offer are B-grade Hollywood crap and I like it when I find interesting, high-quality stuff. Not to say I haven’t checked out a Harry Pottter movie or two, but I want the library to be a source of more than just popular culture. all in all, I’d say they’re doing a great job.
I own a lot of books that I need to get rid of- I used to drop them in the return bin when no one was looking. Now, the electronic return will not accept them! So I have to smugle them in and put them on a shelf when no one is looking. I feel as if I am doing something wrong but I don’t know how else to get rid of all these books than I’ve accumulated over the years. If I get caught and go to jail for this, I will be truly embarrassed.
@Southie, thanks so much for clarifying. If now you return your own books and get a receipt, I will definitely go back within the week!
Glad the library is safe from cuts! I particularly love the compost collection, book request system, and automated return. I had the problem that 43rd & 43rd describes when I was using Manhattan’s library system, but everything’s been smooth since moving to Sunnyside.
43rd & 43rd The system is much better now. There is a machine that you feed your returns into which prints you a receipt listing everything you returned. The machine outside the building is available 24/7 and there is another machine inside the library. I use the library a lot, and I have only found the machine outside to be out of service one time. You can also monitor your account and renew books online.
Great news, the Library is so important to the quality of life in our neighborhood.
@Long time resident, have they changed the system lately? All my issues were a couple years ago, and I haven’t used it since. If it’s possible to check your own books in now, that would be great.
The ebook selection in this case isn’t due to the publishers, it’s due to what the library chooses to buy. No major publisher is making only their romances available and holding back their other genres. Maybe the library has found that romance and children’s have the most circulation, but it’s still unfortunate that it’s SO heavily weighted to those genres.
Does anybody go to the library any more? I read all my books online!
So there was money left over after the dog run? Or did Mayor Mike lie? AGAIN.
Maybe the libraries could save a few bucks by not offering so many Hollywood DVD’s. It’s nice that they have them but that’s not what libraries are for. They should focus maybe on educational DVD’s instead. They can also save some $$ by not mailing a letter to you when a book you reserved arrives. Let the borrower make a point to pick it up at a certain time.
^The RFID reader at the Sunnyside branch seems to eliminate that problem. You even get a receipt confirming the book has been returned. I agree about the eBook selection, but that may be more about what publishers have made available for lending in eBook format.
The biggest problem I have is when I request books from another branch and go to check them out, some times the system won’t let me because they are “on hold.” Oh well, it gives me an excuse to chat with the person at the front desk and ask them to let me check out the books “on hold” since they are on hold for me.
To me, the service is already so poor that the library is basically unusable. When I return books, they are placed back on the shelves, but never “checked in” — the system thinks I still have them, and I accrue fines despite returning books on time. Every time I get an overdue notice, I have to go down and show them the book is already on the shelf. I don’t know whether this is an intended scam, whether someone is lazy, whether equipment is malfunctioning. But wherever I’ve lived, I’ve used public libraries heavily, until now. Very frustrating.
I’ve tried to take out digital books — they check themselves back in! — but it’s difficult to browse what’s available. Seems like almost all of the ebooks they carry are children’s or romances. It would be nice if they expanded that variety, or maybe just had better sorting/browsing tools.
I was in the Sunnyside library on Saturday for the clothes swap-o-rama and the place was a beehive of activity with people of all ages reading, using the computers, checking out books. Thanks to Jimmy for keeping this important resource open for the people of our community and throughout the city.
Thanks for the good news.
It seems like this happens every year. It is hard to really take seriously.