In The News

Stringer proposes ‘open libraries’: Bring reading rooms into car-free open streets, open up every branch library seven days per week, end punitive library fees

Stringer calls on the City to combine success of Open Streets with library services and pedestrianize areas outside of branch libraries

Proposals come on the heels of City Hall budget cuts and as libraries reopen for service

As Mayor, Stringer will ensure that all 216 branch libraries in the five boroughs are open seven days per week and will end disparities between the City’s three library systems

New York, NY – Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer today proposed the City close off and pedestrianize streets outside of select libraries across the five boroughs to bring library services into open streets, as well as expand services across the five boroughs. Stringer’s proposal of “Open Libraries” will help expand the footprint of our local libraries and ensure New Yorkers who are not yet fully vaccinated, as well as those who just want to spend more time outdoors, are able to enjoy the full services of the City’s public libraries.

Stringer’s plan comes as advocates slam City Hall’s proposed $10 million budget cut to library services, which would slash operating hours and endanger more than 100 full-time positions. 

“Libraries are essential for our communities, and we’ve got to bring them back with a bold reopening plan,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer. “Our children go to libraries to build on what they learned in classrooms, explore their interests, and learn new skills. Our seniors use libraries for recreational activities and community services. We have to reimagine and expand how our libraries serve our communities. We can use libraries to do more for our communities. As we reopen libraries for safe, in-person services, we need to double down on libraries — and we can do that by pioneering a new model where we open our doors and bring our libraries into the streets.”

New York City’s public libraries have been closed since March 14, 2020. Despite the shutdown, they have continued digital services, created new methods of bringing New Yorkers together for workshops and community events over Zoom, and implemented a “grab-and-go” system for checking out books. After more than a year of suspended in-person services, dozens of libraries have opened their doors this week. 

New York City’s public libraries are community anchors, providing storytime for young children, after school programs for students, English-language classes for non-native New Yorkers, computer classes for seniors, job and skills training for those building career pathways, and other programs and resources for New Yorkers of every age and background. By investing in our libraries, we invest in all New Yorkers.

Scott’s proposals include: