Expanded Library Hours to Begin Next Month

Expanded Library Hours to Begin Next Month

PHOTO:  Beginning Nov. 15, all borough Library branches will be open at least six days a week. File Photo

After several years of dwindling funding that resulted in cuts to service and programming, the Queens Library this week announced that, beginning Nov. 15, branches will return to a six-day schedule.

The new timetable includes every library in every neighborhood open at least one day on the weekend. The Central Library in Jamaica, and the Flushing Library, will retain hours seven days a week, and will now open at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. Additionally, branches will be holding special programs during the first few weeks of expanded service.

According to the Library administration, the new schedule will give library-users across the borough increased access to branch computers, books and other materials; help with school work and provide more opportunity to take advantage of programs, including computer workshops, ready-to-read, world class music and dance performances, English classes for speakers of other languages, and adult education and community health programs.

The expanded schedule was made possible when the city budget included additional operating expenses of $43 million for the city’s three public library systems. Queens was awarded $12 million.

“Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Finance Chair Ferreras, Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee Chair Van Bramer, Subcommittee Chair King and the City Council have made an historic investment in our city’s libraries,” said Bridget Quinn-Carey, Queens Library’s interim president and CEO. “They passed a budget that included $43 million dollars citywide in increased operating funds that will allow us to hire more staff, provide universal six day service, and will support more programs, more services, more library materials. Thanks to our colleagues in DC 37, Local 1321, Urban Librarians Unite, the Friends of the Library, the staff and the community who worked so hard to see six-day service restored. It is truly something to celebrate. We hope that next fiscal year, they will lock in the gains by adding the increased funding to future budgets so all New Yorkers can continue to benefit.”

In addition to expanded hours of service, the additional funding provided for hiring approximately 100 new employees to serve the public, and 30 percent more funding to purchase books, e-books, videos and other library materials. Extra funding was also allocated to create more robust programs, the Library said, such as early literacy programs for the youngest library customers and more structured after-school programs.

“If budgets are a reflection of our values, then truly this budget shows that we, as a city, value the life-changing services of our city’s libraries,” noted City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).

By Michael V. Cusenza   michael@theforumnewsgroup.com


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