The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

IT Launches New AI Tools
February 21, 2024
SUBSCRIBE TO THE OBSERVER'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER:

Adams’ Budget Cuts Force Closure of New York’s Public Libraries Sundays

Select branches of the NYPL and the public library in Brooklyn and Queens will operate six days a week after the mayor announced changes to the city’s budget for the 2024 fiscal year
Iconic+facade+of+the+New+York+Public+Library%2C+a+cultural+hub+facing+Sunday+closures+amidst+budget+cuts%2C+impacting+student+access+and+city+resources.
AURELIEN CLAVAUD
Iconic facade of the New York Public Library, a cultural hub facing Sunday closures amidst budget cuts, impacting student access and city resources.

Eight New York Public Library (NYPL) locations are no longer  open on Sundays as of Nov. 26, according to a statement from the NYPL released on Nov. 16, due to immediate budget cuts issued by New York City Mayor Adams for the city’s 2024 fiscal year. The Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library are also affected by these cuts, with their last day of Sunday service scheduled for Dec. 17.

Adams announced these changes to the budget on Nov. 16, and e attributed to the mounting costs of mitigating the rise in asylum seekers and the migrant crisis facing New York City. The mayor described the cuts as “extremely painful for New York,” alluding to the cuts also being made to police hiring and sanitation programs.

His decision reverses his earlier move exempting the libraries from an earlier round of budget cuts on April 26. 

Among the branches affected by the closures are two highly frequented Fifth Avenue divisions: the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street near Bryant Park and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library on 40th Street.

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, also known as the Main Branch, is recognizable by the two stone lions that flank its entrance. Its iconic Rose Main Reading Room is also a favorite among Fordham students who frequent the branch to study and do work. 

Isabella Lucido, Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center ’25, is among the students who have utilized the NYPL’s resources. 

“I know that budget cuts need to happen, but to cut out a source of self-education and a space that I could use and students in other universities could use who just need an outlet to learn is devastating,” she said. 

Lucido said she was especially disappointed by the weekend closures because it was when she most often visited the library.

“I hope that people who haven’t ordinarily paid attention to the value of public libraries will now see how valuable the public libraries are.”Linda Loschiavo, director of Fordham Libraries

According to NYPL, Sundays are a popular day for libraries, but it said its decision to suspend operations was due to 50 percent higher staff costs on that day.

The NYPL’s collection of books is the second largest in the country after the Library of Congress, but beyond providing spaces for research and study, the Main Branch is also a popular tourist location, attracting visitors who flock to the library’s permanent exhibition which showcases various treasures collected over 125 years.

The library said that reduced spending on collections and maintenance resulting from the cuts could translate to longer wait times for resources and delayed repairs, citing its focus on operational continuity.

“I know that budget cuts need to happen, but to cut out a source of self-education and a space that I could use and students in other universities could use who just need an outlet to learn is devastating.”Isabella Lucido, GSBLC ’25

Linda Loschiavo, director of Fordham Libraries, said that she fears the Sunday closures of multiple NYPL locations are a catalyst for future cuts to other services offered by the public libraries.

“It filters down. There might be afterschool programs that they do away with — various groups, people citizenship groups, English as a second language,” she said. “It begins with cuts to hours, but it can become a very onerous thing.”

She stressed the relationship between the NYPL and the university’s libraries, which include programs such as the Manhattan Research Library Initiative — a joint borrowing program between the NYPL, Fordham, Columbia University and New York University — for faculty members to expand their access to research collections.

The NYPL also provides Fordham students with open access to online collections, including databases spanning African American migration history, Staten Island’s historical newspapers and the library’s entire digital collection of over 800,000 images. These collections are all accessible through the Fordham library website.

The NYPL said it could not provide a timeline for when full seven-day operations would resume.

The issue of cuts to the public library’s budget received widespread attention when Adams announced plans to decrease funding to City libraries by $36.2 million in April, which sparked an online campaign called #NoCutsToLibraries.

Adams’ proposal generated outcry amongst New Yorkers, hundreds of whom gathered on the steps of City Hall ahead of a budget hearing on March 20, where NYPL President Tony Marx appeared before the New York City Council, accompanied by Brooklyn Public Library President Linda Johnson and Queens Public Library President Dennis Walcott to testify against the planned cuts. 

The three public systems issued a joint statement on Nov. 16, emphasizing their commitment to meeting the needs of New Yorkers and continuing to provide “vital resources.”

The NYPL shared its plans for a future advocacy campaign and encouraged patrons to get involved by signing up for email updates on service-related developments.

“I hope that people who haven’t ordinarily paid attention to the value of public libraries will now see how valuable the public libraries are,” Loschiavo said. “These are really gifts to us that we shouldn’t take for granted.” 

Alongside the Main Branch and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, the list of affected libraries that stopped their Sunday operations on Nov. 26 include the Jefferson Market in Manhattan, the Bronx Library Center, Grand Concourse and Parkchester in the Bronx, and Todt Hill–Westerleigh in Staten Island. 

The NYPL said it could not provide a timeline for when full seven-day operations would resume.



Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
ERIKA TULFO, Former Deputy Managing Editor
Erika Tulfo (she/her), FCLC ’25, is The Observer’s former deputy managing editor. She has previously served as features editor and is double majoring in journalism and history — two of her greatest loves. Erika proudly hails from Manila, Philippines, and is excited to continue the family trade of newswriting. If you can’t find her, chances are she’s probably lost somewhere in the moveable stacks of Quinn Library (have you checked the TV history section?).
AURELIEN CLAVAUD, Photo Editor and Assistant Sports & Health Editor
Aurelien Clavaud (he/him), FCLC ’25, is a photo editor and an assistant sports & health editor at The Observer. He majors in international political economy and loves photography, basketball and writing. He is from Houston, Texas, but has taken a liking to NYC and its frigid weather.

Comments (0)

The Observer reserves the right to remove any comments that contain any of the following: threats or harassment, hateful language and/or slurs, spam (including advertisements unrelated to the topic of a given post), and incoherent phrasing. See the Community Guidelines page under the About tab for more information. Please allow up to a few days for submitted comments to be approved.
All The Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *