Adams’ $112B budget restores some funding, but keeps cuts to NYC libraries

April 25, 2024

Brooklyn Public Library, Central Branch. Photo by Gregg Richards.

Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday released his $111.6 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2025, which rolls back previously planned cuts to cultural institutions, early childhood education, and the police, thanks to higher-than-projected tax revenue. However, funding has not been restored for New York City’s public libraries, which currently face $58.3 million in cuts. Library officials say the lack of funds would force libraries to operate just five days a week, down from the current standard of six days.

Adams hosted a rally on Wednesday to celebrate initiatives in the FY25 Executive Budget. Photo courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

Adams’ proposed budget restores funding for 3-K and pre-K education and programming, including special education services. The budget includes investments for programs for working-class New Yorkers, including the erasure of $2 billion in medical debt for qualified low-income and debt-burdened individuals and permanent funding for the City Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (FHEPS) housing voucher programs.

Adams restored funding for the city’s police department, creating two more police academy classes in July and October, adding 1,200 new officers, for a total of 2,400 new officers over the next year.

The mayor’s proposed budget is $2.2 billion more than the preliminary plan he announced in January, credited to better-than-expected tax revenues. Tax revenue was revised by more than $619 million in FY 2024 and $1.7 billion in FY 2025 compared to the preliminary budget.

Adams said the city cut $586 million in costs for migrant services for this and next fiscal year, as well as $1.7 billion previously cut in the FY 25 preliminary budget, for a total savings of roughly $2.3 billion

Despite these financial gains, Adams did not propose restoring the $58.3 million in budget cuts to the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Public Library. The library systems, which have already cut Sunday service at most branches, are on the verge of only offering five-day service.

When asked about not restoring cuts to the budget for libraries, Adams said there’s still room for negotiation with the City Council before a final agreement is due this summer. In an interview on Pix 11 on Thursday, Adams said while he asked agencies to make savings as part of the Executive Budget Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG), he did not direct libraries to cut service.

“The determination was not made by us to not have Saturdays or Sunday service. That was a determination made by the library,” the mayor said. “We want to be clear on that. As I stated, this is part of the negotiation process.”

“The final product, the cake will be baked, and everyone will be pleased at the end of the conclusion. I’m looking forward to speaking with the speaker as we move forward.”

Without the full funding, branches currently undergoing renovation, many located in underserved communities, will experience delayed reopenings and a general decrease in the quality and quantity of library resources, programming, and building conditions.

The most recent budget cuts have led to 72,000 fewer books and items on shelves at the NYPL and 40,000 fewer at the BPL, according to Hellgate.

Linda E. Johnson, Anthony W. Marx, and Dennis M. Walcott, the presidents of NYC’s three public library systems, released a joint statement on the budget announcement:

“New Yorkers rely on the vital services we provide, and data shows library usage is continuing to climb in key metrics – including visits and program participation. The $58.3M in cuts that Libraries are facing, if enacted, threaten to upend much of the progress we’ve made over the past few years, and will severely impact vulnerable communities who need our services the most. We’ve already lost seven-day service city-wide, and are looking at most branches being open for only five days a week should these cuts go through.”

They continued: “Libraries are among the most trusted institutions, and make New York City stronger. We will continue working with the Administration and the Council to fully restore funding so we can continue providing the level of service our patrons want and need.” 

Seven-day service was eliminated following a mid-year budget cut in November 2023.

The City Council will hold another round of hearings on the budget, with a deal due by July 1.

In a joint statement, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Finance Chair Justin Brannan said “significant work remains” to reach a budget deal and that “too many cuts” were left in place.

“We are disappointed that critical support for key mental health services, programs to reduce recidivism, and libraries that our city desperately needs are not included in the Executive Budget,” Adams and Brannan said.


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