Times are tough and the Queens Library has been facing deep cuts, but a New Year has brought with it a gift to help offset budgetary constraints.
Carnegie Corporation of New York President Vartan Gregorian announced that the organization will be giving $5 million to the public library systems of New York.
The Queens Library, which serves 2.2 million of New York’s student population, adult learning community and literary enthusiasts alike, will be receiving a $1.5 million infusion. Just last year alone, the city cut $3 million from libraries.
Some library patrons already have their hopes set for what is to come with the grant. Borough bookworms anticipate such luxuries as better access to best sellers, reopening of libraries on Saturdays, more children’s programs, part-time work opportunity, more computers and of course, elongated rental periods.
“Sometimes, especially during the holidays, seven days is just not enough time to finish an 800-page book,” said Ellen, a Bay Terrace Library frequenter.
However, some are a little more skeptical about the possibility of any immediate and meaningful change. Faithful Queens Library patron Andy told The Courier, “The libraries need all the money they can get their hands on, because they aren’t getting it from [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg. These days, even $5 million is just a drop in the bucket, but hey, every bit helps.”
Queens Public Library spokesperson Joanne King said that they cannot yet be sure of exactly what change, if any, is to come, saying, “I can’t say things won’t change because it is simply too early to tell.”
King said that after the budget cuts, the library has a “desperate need to fill in the losses.”
The New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library will also benefit from the grant.
With this latest contribution, the Carengie Corporation would have donated $15 million to New York’s libraries over the last 14 years.