June 26, 2012 By Christian Murray
The New York City budget deal struck between the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg last night has ensured that the Woodside and Sunnyside library branch hours will not be cut.
The mayor had proposed cutting $26.7 million from the Queens Library system’s 2013 budget, which would have led to 600 layoffs across the borough and branch closures. However, most of the funds have been restored as part of the deal.
The cuts would have led to the closure of about one-third of the 62 branch libraries in Queens, with most of the remaining branches – including the Woodside and Sunnyside branches– being open just three days per week.
The Sunnyside branch is currently one of 18 branch libraries in Queens that is open six days per week—with Saturday service. Woodside is open five days per week; its Saturday service ended in 2010.
Joanne King, the communications director for Queens Library, said that the branch hours at Sunnyside (open Saturday) and Woodside will not be changed.
“Every library in every community will remain open at least five days a week,” said Queens Library President and CEO Thomas Galante in a statement after the deal was announced. “Layoffs have been averted.”
Galante said that there “more than 85,000 people signed petitions and wrote postcards and attendees rallies,” in order to protect the Queens Library system from cuts. The Queens Library system serves a population of 2.3 million.