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News: Libraries
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/City Limits

New Scrutiny of City's Library Trustees

The trustees of the city's library systems oversee more than 200 branches and the spending of hundreds of millions of city dollars. How representative of the city are they?

Libraries Get Millions to Fix Buildings, Need More

The proposed city budget includes more than $500 million in capital funds for the city's library systems. But with dozens of aging buildings in the branch network, the needs go deeper.

Success, Struggle as Library Branches Fill Gap in Services

The city's library branches offer a dizzying array of services, from job-search help to literacy lessons to fiction writers' circles. But limits on space and money could hamper the systems' ability to reach potential.

In Branch Libraries, Fewer Books But High Demand

Many of the city's branch libraries feature half-empty shelves, reflecting budget constraints more than changing readership demands.

Budgets Cut, But NYC's Libraries Thrive—For Now

Free access to technology, help for immigrants, a safe space for kids. Branch libraries play an increasingly important role. But funding hasn't kept up. Will the lack of support undermine a critical civic resource?

City Schools Ask State to Waive Librarian Requirements

Citing fiscal pressure, the schools want to use in-classroom libraries and parent volunteers instead of certified librarians. Critics say kids need more than that.

Library Vital to Immigrants Squeezed by City Budget

The small McKinley Park branch in Dyker Heights bustles with immigrants but struggles to meet demand after years of cuts to the library system.

World's Greatest Novels—Not At Your Local Library?

A trip to six Brooklyn branch libraries in low-income neighborhoods found that many classic novels are not on the shelves. As budgets tighten and many readers go digital, do these missing titles represent A Brave New World or Darkness at Noon?

Brooklyn Library Facing Lower Budget, Higher Demand

Despite the Internet age and the e-book craze, Brooklyn's libraries are seeing increasing usage. But budget cuts are one challenge the system might not be able to surmount.

At Zuccotti Park, a People's Library

The library holds over 1,200 books from an array of genres, including politics, poetry, religion, gender studies, foreign language, and science fiction.

The War on Terrorism—at the Library

Section 215 of the Patriot Act amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow the FBI to seek a broader range of "tangible items" like "books, records, papers, documents, and other items."


Going online at the public library? Now you may need a library card—and for that you’ll need an address.


The Council wants to shove the city's agencies into the electronic age.


Staffing is so short that four Bronx branches of the public library system stayed shuttered one recent Saturday. Librarians blame rock-bottom salaries.

Libraries are commonplace in New York City and are frequently visited by students and adults alike for access to literature and online materials. Due to recent budget cuts, certain institutions are finding it difficult to provide their visitors with essential books and other resources.

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Several Members of Queens Library Board Forced Out - Jarrett Murphy

The library system, which has been under scrutiny over perks given to its director, wouldn't say which ones.

Libraries Fall Short in Push for Budget Windfall - Jarrett Murphy

The city's four library systems had hoped for a $65 million addition to the baseline budget. They instead received a more modest increase.

Libraries Pledge Big Expansion if City Boosts Funding - Jarrett Murphy

The city's three library systems promise to hire nearly 800 people, expand hours and introduce new programs if the city boosts their funding by $65 million over what Mayor de Blasio has proposed.

Update: Corrected Library Budget Numbers - Jarrett Murphy

When pre-payment is taken into account, the current year's budget and Mayor de Blasio proposed fiscal 2015 spending are almost identical.

Woops! Turns Out Libraries Aren't Getting Big Increases - Jarrett Murphy

The mayor's executive budget does not include massive increases for the city's library system, as City Limits previously reported.

Library Budget Hearing, Beyond the Galante Controversy - Jarrett Murphy

Read key briefing material on the financial situation confronting the city's research and branch libraries.

City Libraries Target Jailed Readers - Jarrett Murphy

The man in charge of the Brooklyn Library's correctional services talks about the challenges of providing books to an incarcerated customer base.

Should NYC's Libraries Spend More On Books? - Jarrett Murphy

A look at how the New York, Queens and Brooklyn systems compare to other major library networks.

Libraries Look to Life Beyond the Budget Dance - Jarrett Murphy

A baselined budget doesn't mean there aren't big challenges for the city's three systems.

Your Turn: The Top 25 Books that Changed History - Jarrett Murphy

Tell us what you think of this list of earth-shattering titles.

Stringer to Audit City's Libraries - Jarrett Murphy

In the wake of reports about questionable spending in the Queens system, the comptroller said he wants to check the books of all three library networks.

Queens BP Wants Council Inquiry on Library Spending - Jarrett Murphy

Amid reports about big spending on salary and offices for the system's top exec, Melinda Katz endorsed calls for a Council probe and promised to do some digging of her own.

How's Your Local Library? - Jarrett Murphy

Tell us about the branch you use, or why you don't use it. And download an easy-to-read version of our report on the serious challenges facing New York's libraries.



Libraries and City Schools Need a Closer Partnership

By Tricia Davies

Libraries and City Schools Need a Closer Partnership

The author suggests that underutilized hours at branch libraries overlap with times when neighborhood schools could use more and better-equipped space.

What Does the City's Recovery Need? More Libraries

By David Giles

What Does the City's Recovery Need? More Libraries

Libraries perform a critical role in workforce development for low-income New Yorkers. But budget cuts have so curtailed service that Detroit's libraries are now open more than New York's.

Living Dangerously … at the Library?

By Steve Lilienthal

Living Dangerously … at the Library?

In the age of the Internet and an era of shrinking government budgets, are public libraries worth taxpayers' dollars. A conservative policy analyst—and former library worker—says "yes."



Occupational Therapy

"At a Bronx homeless shelter, residents find jobs by finding themselves."

Economic Impact of Libraries in New York City

Research for an April 16, 2012 joint hearing of the New York City Council's Committee on Small Business, Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations and the Select Committee on Libraries, on the role played by the 214 branch and four research libraries operated by New York's three library systems.