September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month for American Public Libraries

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catlibrarycardThere is no better time of the year than September to sign up for a library card. All next month, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries all across the country are celebrating the value of getting a library card. If you don’t already have a library card, then be sure to stop by your local public library sometime during the month of September. If you have one, but know a friend or young person who doesn’t, then bring them to the library to get a card! They will want one to check out books, ebooks, audio tapes, cds, videos, dvds, and access computer terminals, databases and download mp3s—all free!

Live in Brooklyn?

Live in Manhattan, Bronx, or Staten Island?

Live in Queens?

 

#mylibraryis

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What is your library to you? Save NYC Libraries has a great social media campaign going which collects and shares the stories of everyday people who need/want/work in/utilize/or otherwise love the library in all kinds of different ways. Read them all here. And if you have your own story to tell you can do so my submitting it here. You can also chose to allow Save NYC Libraries to use your story for library advocacy purposes. Why? Because our stories make the libraries real for lawmakers and funders.

Help Save NYC Libraries with a Phone Call? Yes Please!!! 311 Call-In Days 6/20 and 6/21

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[Save NYC Libraries Re-post]

The NYC budget decision is coming down to the wire now, people! Thank you so much for your support so far. We appreciate you signing the petitions, camping out with us at the Read-In, and all the other great stuff you’re doing to help save NYC libraries.

We’re going to ask you to do ONE LAST THING this year to help prevent library funding cuts before the budget is finalized (which might be as early as next week – yikes!)

Just like last year, we’re holding an official “311 Call-In Day” so that the mayor’s office gets inundated with phone calls in support of NYC libraries.

This small action has a BIG impact because 311 tracks the comments and tells the mayor about the issues that concern people the most. Imagine if Mr. Bloomberg got A MILLION comments just about library funding. Would he be able to justify closing them down THEN? Pshaw! (Okay, maybe a million calls is a stretch. But it’s nice to dream!)

Here’s what you can do:

On either Thursday, June 20th, or Friday June 21st (or both!), call 311 at any time and tell the operator you’d like to make a “budget comment.” Then you can make a statement regarding library funding. If you want to keep things simple, here’s a sample script: “I believe closing any libraries in NYC is unacceptable and I’m calling to request the complete restoration of library funding.” Easy as that! And it feels so good.

If you don’t live in NYC, you can call 212-NEW-YORK (or 212-639-9675). In addition, the TTY Number is 212-504-4115.

Want to connect with other library supporters? RSVP to make your phone call over on Facebook!

Save New York City Libraries From Bloomberg Developer Destruction

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(Via Carolyn McIntyre of Citizens Defending Libraries & the associated petition Save New York City Libraries From Bloomberg Developer Destruction)

Mayor Bloomberg refuses to adequately fund our public libraries unless they sell off assets including crown jewels of the system, a plan that is wrong-headed and counterproductive.
 
We are in a period of steadily increasing use of libraries by all sectors of New York’s population, attendance is up 40% and circulations are up 59%, while the amount required to properly fund libraries is a pittance compared to other city expenditures.   
 
Public libraries enrich their communities and are an important part of the tax base and a stable economy, providing jobs, community space and serving as a buffer against economic downturn.   They provide a safe haven for seniors during the day, teens after school, for parents with young children, for job seekers needing computers, for the growing number of freelance professionals, and for those needing literacy and technical skills.
 
Bloomberg’s plan would eliminate irreplaceable and historic crown jewels, such as the research stacks underneath the main 42nd Street library, and demolish Brooklyn Heights Art Deco style building, housing 62,000 square feet of library space replacing it with only 15,000 square feet of space in a developer’s high rise.  The removal of the Brooklyn Business Library from Brooklyn’s central business district in downtown Brooklyn, the hub of commerce, transportation, and next to universities is a travesty.  These are just two examples of a scheme to shrink New York’s public library system, eliminating resources that communities depend on.
 
We need to immediately halt real estate deals that involve selling any more branches to private developers until the libraries have been properly funded and until the needs of the public’s library system are the first priority.

Libraries should not be hostages for development.  The city should cease the practices of bribing the public into approving bigger and denser development and pressuring communities into accepting libraries housed in smaller spaces with fewer services.

Developer-driven partnerships that put developers in the driver’s seat and render competitive bids meaningless are bad public policy that must be avoided.  The practice of using developers who specialize in insider deals, who treat the communities poorly and have a record of failing to deliver promised benefit violates the public trust.

There should be no elimination or sale of irreplaceable assets such as the crown jewel research stacks under the 42nd Street main library or elimination of the Business and Career Center Library on the border of Brooklyn Heights and downtown Brooklyn.

There should be no premature library closings such as Donnell library, closed in 2008 and still awaiting a replacement.  Any library closing should have a binding contract for its prompt replacement with solid assurances, including full up-front payments and financing in place.
 
There should be no mass sell-offs of libraries.  Sales of library properties, if any, should be sequenced so that multiple libraries are not closed at the same time and only when it is in the best interest of the public’s library system.

“The knowledge of different literature frees one from the tyranny of a few”
 -Jose Marti   Plaque on 41St Library Walk
 
New York’s libraries, the lifeblood of a democracy, have contributed to making our city economically vital and a cultural powerhouse.  We must not sacrifice it to shortsighted planning and the interests of powerful developers. We demand protection for public libraries, the city’s trusted place to learn, grow, be inspired, and connect with great minds.
 
Relevant articles:

• New York Times: Critic’s Notebook- In Renderings for a Library Landmark, Stacks of Questions, by Michael Kimmelman, January 29, 2013. 

• Wall Street Journal: Undertaking Its Destruction, by Ada Louise Huxtable, December 3, 2012.

• Noticing New York: New City-Wide Policy Makes Generation Of Real Estate Deals The Library System’s Primary Purpose, by Michael D. D. White, January 31, 2013.
 
• Center For An Urban Future: Report – Branches of Opportunity, by David Giles, January 2013
 

If you have not yet, please sign a petition to Stephen Levin, City Council Member, Mayor Michael R Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC Comptroller John C. Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Trustees of New York Public Library, Trustees of Brooklyn Public Library, and Trustees of Queens Public Library, which says:

“We demand that Mayor Bloomberg stop defunding New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth.  Shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for the wealthy at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity is not only unjust, it is a shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.”

Simply click here to add your name:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/save-new-york-city-libraries?source=s.fwd&r_by=798749

Thank you!

Hello Summer and An Outdoor Reading Room on Governors Island

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A new Uni outdoor reading room will launch this Saturday, Jun 1, on Governors Island in NYC harbor, jointly run by all three NYC public library systems: the Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library. The Libraries will provide staff and books, learning activities, and children’s programs for the benefit of island visitors all summer long. Visitors will be able to borrow books “in house”, register for library cards, sign up for summer reading, and find out about what’s happening in each of the three New York City public library systems. Score!

More information here.

Call for Readers! The 24-Hour Read In is Coming and We Will Not Be Shushed

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June 8th -9th
4pm Saturday through 4pm Sunday

SIGN UP HERE!

Speak out in support of the library by reading your favorite book in public. The 24 Hour Read In is looking for New Yorkers who are willing to stand up for libraries. Come out and help Urban Librarians Unite read right around the clock in support of libraries in New York City.

Once again libraries in the five boroughs are facing historic budget cuts. This year’s budget is proposing a $106 million cut for libraries. Should these cuts go through more than sixty neighborhood libraries across the city will be forced to close and services and hours at the remaining libraries will be slashed. More than a thousand library workers will be let go and public services including budgets for new books and materials will be severely cut.

Now in our fourth year the 24 Hour Read In on the steps of Brooklyn Public Library has become a staple of library advocacy in New York City. Urban Librarians Unite have had weather balloons hanging in the sky, enough donated food to feed an army, and storm winds that lifted a tent full of gear two feet into the air. It is an amazing and inspirational tribute to reading in the city.

Readers take it in fifteen minute shifts to read whatever they like. Readers can read anything they want with a couple of small caveats. We ask that people just read, not give long speeches, this is first and foremost a tribute to the library and the written word. Please don’t read erotica during family story time from 8AM – 1PM on Sunday. Likewise, the hours of midnight to 4AM can get a little racy so don’t read then if that kind of stuff will shock you. Please show up at least fifteen minutes early and don’t read over your allotted time. That is pretty much it for rules.