Taneya, a librarian in Brooklyn


I started my career as a journalist, but never lost my childhood desire to be a teacher, dancer, and an artist. Growing up, I envisioned a space where I could combine these loves with transformative social services—and I do that as a librarian. Malcolm X said the library was his alma mater, and that still resonates today. It’s truly the “People’s University.” We offer hundreds of free resources, and see the tangible results in the community. For example, a winner of our business competition now partners with a local farmer’s market to bring affordable
healthy food to the neighborhood.


Susan, a parent in Park Slope, Brooklyn:


This library is heavily used and heavily loved by every member of this vibrant neighborhood, yet it clearly does not have the resources it needs and deserves. In the summer its air conditioning system roars ineffectually, and in all seasons it is just too under-furnished for all the people who love to spend time there. Its books selection is strong and thoughtfully assembled, but nowhere near the size and scope its patrons would like and would use. And yet the staff is so generous, so happy to see you, so undaunted in the face of meager resources that they deserve recognition and additional resources!


Decrease in city funding for New York City libraries from 2002-2011

"And yet the staff is so generous, so happy to see you, so undaunted in the face of meager resources that they deserve recognition and additional resources!"

Brynne, a student in Staten Island:


Increase in library program attendance from 2002-2011

Mrs. Amy and her staff at Tottenville Library are very friendly. They try their best to work with what they have but also have big plans. They decorate the library in many themes throughout the year. When you see all the little kids amazed at how it is decorated you can't help but smile. They are able to turn paper towel rolls into a giant elephant and turn the library into a jungle.

Yomara, a resident of Manhattan:

Spanish Harlem doesn't have the fanciest library branch but they certainly have a lot of visitors stopping by and I know these funds could improve the branch. This is a neighborhood with a high density population, we have blocks and blocks of high rise public housing units. This would be a great place to invest money because it would reach a large number of low-income and working class people and uplift those who need it most.

"This would be a great place to invest money because it would reach a large number of low-income and working class people and uplift those who need it most."

Mary, a job-seeker in Manhattan

We have a tiny branch in terms of the physical space but a huge branch in terms of positive impact! Not only does our branch try harder, it does so much with the little it has. More money would open up so many other wonderful possibilities! I know our staff to be hard working and imaginative. More money would enable them to make more of their dreams a reality!


Increase in circulation experienced by New York City libraries from 2002-2011


Clare, a parent in the Bronx


My children go to the library every day after school to do their homework with classmates. Whenever it rains a lot,
the library gets flooded, especially in the children’s section. When this happens, arriving families are turned
away and this always makes them frustrated and sad. It would be so nice to have funds to make the necessary
upgrades for flood prevention.

An artist in Sunnyside, Queens


This library is an important resource. The past couple of years the hours that the library is open has been decreasing, and I believe that this is a detriment to our community. Students, seniors, and the general populace should be able to count on the library to be open seven days a week, and this is just not possible with the current state of library funding.

Catherine, a resident of Rockaway Beach, Queens


"You wear your scarves and mittens in the cold and still do the job."


What does the library do when a hurricane devastates the entire peninsula? Why you send in the Little Yellow School Bus! You wear your scarves and mittens in the cold and still do the job. At Christmas you bring stuffed animals, a balloon man, and books to keep the children reading. You set up a clothing table and direct people to hot food services, start children’s programs, put out games, and help with forms for FEMA. And you do this six days a week for months while the community begins to recover.


Angela, an artist in Brooklyn


The Far Rockaway Branch was the center for a huge number of people in the Rockaways who were living without electricity, phone service and resources in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Not only did it function as a shelter and meeting point, but it was a food distribution center with more organization than any other center I found. There were lines around the block each day, and the library staff made sure all the food and supplies were divided into individual-sized portions and that the line moved in an orderly fashion. They not only knew what to do at the library, but they did it immediately and they did it right.



Number of New Yorkers without power immediately following the storm

An immigrant in Brooklyn

People who were affected so badly by the hurricane as we were, came to the Sheepshead Bay Library to restore themselves, attending programs and workshops: art of writing for stress relief, express your emotions through writing, art of positive thinking, some of those programs for our children and not only in English, but Russian and Chinese languages as well.

Rebecca, a librarian in the Bronx


After the storm half of Riverdale was without power, including my branch. My cell phone rang endlessly with calls from my team and the public asking when we could open. I believe that some people kept a watchful eye on the branch, because I received about ten calls telling me that the power was back on and that we could open. When we did open, my team and I welcomed our community with hot coffee, donuts, extra programs for bored children, smiles, outlets for charging devices, internet access, and free Wi-Fi.


Number of New Yorkers without power immediately following the storm

Troy, a GED instructor in Queens

Arverne Library, though devastated by Hurricane Sandy, provides not just traditional library services to residents but also computers and internet access, training on a wide variety of subjects, help on resume writing and finding a job, GED test preparation, and Microsoft certification. Perhaps [more funding] could help expedite the restoration of the building so that the staff and community can reestablish much-needed programing to a community still crippled by Sandy.

Book Bus in Peninsula 11-2-12.jpg

A resident of Brooklyn


Gerritsen Beach Library does more than lend books and provide free newspapers and internet access. It is an anchor in a neighborhood that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. Without this library there is no community, there is no place for residents to gather, talk about the community, and borrow books to take them to far away places.

Paul, a community group representative


City residents left homeless after the storm

The Red Hook Library was inundated with 18 inches of water during Hurricane Sandy, and was closed for several months following the storm. In spite of its condition, the library was opened up as a warming center during the cold spell that followed the storm, as many Red Hook residents were without heat or electricity, and many more were rendered homeless by the flood.

Shiuli, a Literacy Leaders program associate in the Lower East Side, Manhattan


I provide domestic violence services mostly to South Asian women. We chose the library because it’s a welcoming and safe environment. It has books in Bengali, Hindi, and Urdu, which makes everyone in the neighborhood feel like their existence is acknowledged. They see the library as a place for resources, a stepping stone to learn to navigate the larger system—help with domestic violence, but also careers and public benefits—a path toward independence and safety.