WEST SIDE LIBRARIES BRACE FOR CUTS

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By Rochana Rapkins

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,” Singer said 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.

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