June 1, 2015 By Michael Florio
A crowd of nearly 75 people joined local politicians last Tuesday to rally for additional funding for the Jackson Heights library and libraries across the city.
The crowd rallied in front of the Jackson Heights library, located at 35-51 81st Street, calling on the city to increase library funding.
The Jackson Heights library was an apt branch to hold the rally since it is one of the most heavily used libraries in Queens.
“It is crowded every hour that it is open with parents and children, students, English Language learners and for so many other informational and educational uses,” according to a statement issued by the Queens Library.
Library advocates in Queens and throughout the five boroughs are calling on the city to increase its operating budget by $65 million citywide.
The additional funds would go toward hiring more than 200 library staff, to ensuring that libraries in every community are open at least 6 days per week. The funds would also be used to increase programs and library materials.
“I strongly urge Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council Speaker to provide an additional $65 million in funding to have all our libraries open six days a week,” State Senator Jose Peralta, who participated in the rally, said.
“We all use our libraries and it is very important we keep investing in them so we have state-of-the-art facilities for our communities,” Peralta said.
Assemblyman Francisco Moya spoke about the important role that libraries play in most communities, particularly in Jackson Heights.
“They provide cultural programming, access to the internet, and critical services like ESL and financial literacy classes, which are a lifeline for immigrants and New Yorkers living in underserved communities,” said Assemblyman Francisco Moya.
However, Peralta and Moya were not alone in calling for additional funding for the library.
“Our libraries need additional resources,” said NYC Council Education Committee Chairperson and Councilman Danny Dromm. “Libraries provide important resources for people searching for jobs, for students researching projects and for immigrant New Yorkers who attend the libraries’ free English classes.
“The Mayor must come up with the additional $65 million,” Dromm added.