NEW YORK — Reports of cuts to New York City libraries have sparked weeks of public outcry over potential ramifications on the city’s library system.

The shape of these proposed cuts is finally taking shape thanks to a letter from the director of the New York Public Library, the details of which were reported this week in The Gothamist.

NYPL President Anthony Marx said New Yorkers should be prepared for the possibility of weekend library service being in the crosshairs. The latest round of proposed cuts, he said, would cost libraries $23 million.

“This would result in the elimination of Sunday service at the current eight locations, reduced hours, and a move to a five-day service schedule at most locations,” Marx wrote.

A shortfall of this magnitude could also eliminate currently vacant positions, as well as positions to be filled in the future.

“All of this is, of course, truly awful to contemplate, and we still hope, and will do all we can, to prevent these cuts,” the letter continued.

The proposed cuts come at a volatile time as libraries across the country struggle with pressure from a small minority who are trying to ban, and successfully in many places, books covering topics related to people of color and to LGBTQ+ people. Some libraries that oppose it have had their funding cut or forced to close.

A study published last year found that more than 70% of parents opposed the book ban. Specifically, the survey found that most parents had “a high degree of trust in school librarians to make good decisions about what books to make available to children.”

Earlier this month, the Eric Adams administration asked all city agencies to cut another 4% from their budgets. One of the rationales for this round of cuts is the city’s growing migrant population and the resources needed to accommodate it.

Pressed about possible cuts to libraries at a press conference in March, the mayor declined to label the so-called “cuts”.

“From Staten Island to the Bronx, everyone is doing an amazing job and I think it’s misinformation to say we’re cutting back. We’ve asked all city agencies to look at the efficiencies and jobs that were open,” Adams said.

“We are facing a financial crisis and I understand what they are saying. I respect that. But I need all my agencies to focus on how to weather this storm.”

The Gothamist reports that the Queens and Brooklyn library systems also expect to reduce weekend service if the proposed budget cuts go through.

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