Brooklyn Library Budget Cuts

A bulletin board outside of the Midwood Public Library in Brooklyn. Photo by Gisselle Baez.


The Midwood Public Library in Brooklyn is one of eight public libraries out of 66 Brooklyn Public Library branches that will be closed on Sundays starting Dec 17 due to Mayor Eric Adams’ mid-year budget cuts.

These budget cuts affect the Midwood library’s hours, and especially affects the majority Jewish population and the children that live in the neighborhood.

The cuts are effective immediately. Many public libraries in Queens, Manhattan and, Brooklyn that have been open seven days will be closed on Sundays and will need to cut staff and put a halt to repairs.

For the Orthodox Jewish people in the neighborhood who observe Shabbat on Saturdays, Sundays are the best day to visit the library. Sarah Varworst, a librarian at the Midwood branch, said Sundays are when most of the library’s Jewish users come to visit. Closing on Sundays would mean they will no longer have access on the day that works best for them, she continued.

The budget cuts also affect the library’s “collection money,” which funds new books DVDs, and vinyl records.

“I think the cuts to the libraries will be detrimental for kids, these cuts are coming at a time where we are seeing children reading at a lower level,” said Tendaji Harrison, a Public School Teacher. In 2022, the average score for readers at a fourth grade level in New York City was 214, which is six points lower than the average score in 2019, according to The National Center for Education Statistics. According to the United States Census about 150,000 children live in the Midwood area.

Adams also announced a $4 billion budget cut to all city agencies. He said this is due to the $1.45 billion the city spent on the migrant crisis this year.  “For months, we have warned New Yorkers about the challenging fiscal situation our city faces,” said Adams in a statement to Fox News. “To balance the budget as the law requires, every city agency dug into their own budget to find savings, with minimal disruption to services.”

Brad Lander, the city comptroller, has been pushing back on Adams blaming the budget cuts on the migrant crisis. “Stop suggesting that asylum seekers are the reason for imposing severe cuts when they are only contributing to a portion of these budget gaps, much of which already existed,” Lander, said to the New York Times.

The council speaker, Adrienne Adams, also had thoughts on the city’s budget cuts. “The city should explore approving new revenues and shift migrant services to nonprofits,” she said in a statement to the New York Times.