Library Cuts, Questions About Riverside Center School

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The New York City Public Library could face devastating cuts if Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed $37 million reduction in library funding is adopted. In addition to jobs lost through attrition, 736 additional library jobs could be eliminated, according to Susan Singer, a library manager at the Bloomingdale branch, on West 100th Street.

“It would be the worst cut in our history,” said Singer during a July 17 meeting of Community 7’s youth, education and libraries committee.

Six-day service is also under threat. West Side branches have already cut down on hours and instituted a hiring freeze. If the proposed changes go through, the surviving libraries would only open four days a week, according to Singer. Free programs for children would also be eliminated.

In response to the crisis, the library has instituted a fundraising and letter-writing campaign. To date, nearly 100,000 letters of support have been collected.

The committee also discussed the school that Extell Development Corp. will construct as part of its Riverside Center development. Issues under contention include financing, square footage, traffic safety and drop-off procedures. Because the new school will not have a ground level yard, parents will need to drop their children off on the sidewalk, or escort them into the school

“From a parent management perspective, that is a bad idea,” said Mark Diller, the committee’s chair. “There are some kids that just can’t let go. Also, having adults walking around the building—there is a safety issue.”

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