The city’s libraries were hoping for $65 million in additional funding in the city budget over and above what Mayor de Blasio promised in his executive budget. In budget documents released this week, it appears they got about $10 million toward that goal.
The libraries were already grateful for de Blasio’s budget which ended the “budget dance” tactic of slashing library spending just to force the City Council to spend its time and political capital getting that money restored, rather than seeking new support.
But they had big plans for what to do with the $65 million in extra money—lots of hiring and new programs chief among them.
In the end, the research libraries saw their budget boosted by 3 percent over de Blasio’s plan, to $23.4 million. The New York Public Library, which has branches in Manhatthan, the Bronx and Queens, received a $3.7 million hike—3.3 percent—to $115.9 million. The Brooklyn and Queens systems each saw adjustments of $2.8 million or so, putting their fiscal 2015 city subsidy at about $86 million each.
All told, the library systems will have 2.6 percent more city finding to spend next than they did in fiscal 2014. The libraries also raise private money: Earlier this week, the New York Public Library received funding from the Knight Foundation to launch a pilot program offering free WiFi hotspot devices to low-income borrowers.