In many of the neighborhoods hit hardest by the pandemic, libraries are among the only trusted resources for immigrants, teens, older adults, and those on the wrong side of the digital divide. However, libraries are meeting only a fraction of the demand. With a funding bump to $1 billion a year, libraries could scale up their most effective programs and expand their hours of operations to reach more New Yorkers.
In this op-ed for Daily News, CUF Executive Director Jonathan Bowles makes the case for why the incoming generation of city leaders should finally give libraries the resources they need to keep pace with growing demand for their programs and services — and meet the challenges of the post-pandemic recovery. While many other entities will be pivotal to creating a more equitable city—including schools and hundreds of community-based nonprofits—libraries are uniquely equipped to help in so many critical areas, from expanding access to early education and closing the digital divide to strenthening minority-owned businesess and bolstering the language, literacy, and technology skills needed to access the good jobs of tomorrow.
You can read the op-ed here.
This op-ed builds on the Center's ongoing research on libraries, including the recent report Branches to Recovery: Tapping the Power of New York’s Public Libraries to Ensure an Inclusive Recovery and Rebuild a More Equitable City, and event "Branches of Recovery."