NEW YORK - Sunday service at New York City public libraries ended due to the city's recently announced budget cuts.
This means the Bronx Library Center, one of eight New York Public Library branches, held its last "Sunday Story Time Hour" for the foreseeable future.
"I don’t get the priorities. And in this neighborhood," Dan Clark, a Bronx resident, told FOX 5 NY.
Clark brought one of his four kids to the Fordham Manor library on Sunday to read and was shocked to see the signs announcing the cut posted out front.
"[On] Sunday, not much else is open," Clark said. "The church is open. And the library should stay open for these kids. And I can’t think of any other place in the city that needs a library that’s a positive structure more than the Bronx."
Little kids aren't the only New Yorkers who enjoy the library on Sundays. Big kids like Alex Gonzalez, a freshman at Lehman College in the Bronx, uses the library every Sunday to study. It's the only day he doesn't need to attend class or work at his job. He told FOX 5 NY he doesn’t have the money to buy a laptop and relies on the computer lab.
"Yeah, the mayor is kind of messing with my grades, which I feel like is kind of messed up," Gonzalez said. "Like out of all the things, that’s a whole day! That’s a whole day of working. That’s messed up. That’s really messed up."
The New York Public Library said it is aware Sundays are a popular day for library visits, but staff costs are 50% higher on Sundays.
It’s unsure when or if Sunday service will be restored.
"This library has been a real cornerstone for all the schools in the community for all the people in the area they come here," said one mother inside the Bronx Library Center.
The budget cuts impact more than just library hours.
This means longer wait times for books, reduced programming, and maintenance and repairs will be delayed or even postponed. Now, the mayor has decided to cut the budget, but he emphasizes that the state and federal governments need to help New York City face its financial issues, stemming in large part from the migrant crisis.
The cuts also affect the Queens Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library systems. The last day of Sunday service will be Dec. 17 in Brooklyn, and the Central and Flushing libraries in Queens ended Sunday service. Nov. 26.
Sunday service cuts
- Jefferson Market Library
- Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL)
- Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
- Washington Heights Library