Brooklyn library faces cutbacks

May 7, 2010 3:14:30 PM PDT
Anyone who uses the Brooklyn Public Library can tell you it is useful for much more than simply reading books.

"I can become friends with people when I go there, and we learn different things at the library. There are lots of resources," Aliah Gilkes said.

From the free use of computers, to the language center, to the education and job information center, which helps people looking for employment, the library is full of resources. But severe budget cuts could shorten the list.

"Those are exactly the kind of things that stand to be lost: access to books and library material and programming that helps people get jobs or write a resume or learn how to change careers. That's what is at risk right now," Steve Schechter of the Brooklyn Public Library said.

Some students at a Brooklyn private school come here several times a week.

"Being a small school, we don't have as many resources, so the library actually has many, many more resources than we do," teacher Teresa Gripper said.

When governments are forced to slash their budgets, libraries and their resources are often the first things to go.

They are open 6 days a week, which could be cut back. Officials like saying there is a library branch within walking distance of every Brooklynite, which could change.

Many parents spend quality time with their kids here.

"There's so much knowledge and there's authors that come here all the time and you know, so my daughter gets exposed to a lot of different opportunities," Sonia Gilkes said.

An aggressive fundraising campaign has begun, but officials of the Brooklyn Public Library think of it as community organizing.

"We know everyone loves libraries. We just need them to love us with a little more money this year," Schechter said.

Learn how to help by visiting the Brooklyn Public Library online at