MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Further cuts to the Mount Vernon Public Library will make it hard for it to get outside funding, Library Board of Trustees President Na’im Tyson said.
Speaking at a public hearing on Friday night, Tyson said the $250,000 cut to library funding in the proposed 2013 municipal budget would have a domino effect that might cost the institution its central library status that allows it to get grants.
“We might have to relinquish most of our precious library collections,” Tyson said. “We are actively seeking assistance from the mayor to apply for a waiver if we are not restored.”
Gary Newman, president of the Mount Vernon Public Library workers union, said the library has been a “troubled place” for years. Newman said New York State requires libraries to be open 55 hours a week, which would be difficult to do if the cuts are approved.
“We’ll have layoffs that won’t allow us to function,” Newman said. “We’ll have insufficient hours for our 28,000 current members who will be barred from library services and blocked from electronic books and other online programs. Mount Vernon would become infamous as the only city in New York without a public library.”
Newman said a rumored grant from State Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow is just that, a rumor. Newman said he spoke with the assemblyman, who told him there is no such grant for the library.
Library Board of Trustees Vice President Emily Burns said the library needs more municipal support, adding that, if funding is cut by more than 5 percent, it will cause a hardship.
“This will put the library in jeopardy,” Burns said.
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