New York City’s public libraries are open almost four hours more per week on average this year than last year – but their hours still fall short of those in most of the nation’s largest library systems, according to a new study by the Center for an Urban Future.
NYC’s libraries are now open an average of 48.4 hours a week, with 99% of the branch libraries open six days a week (up from 67% a year ago) with the biggest improvements occurring in Queens and Brooklyn, according to the report.
A $43 million increase in operating funds for public libraries, approved by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council last June, can be credited for the increased operating hours, according to the report.
Despite the gains, only 8% of our local branches are open seven days a week, compared to 90% of Suffolk County libraries, 88% of Rockland County libraries and 71% of Nassau County libraries.
The New York Public Library System ties for sixth place nationally – along with Phoenix and San Jose - in service hours, falling behind San Antonio (56.5 hours), Los Angeles (52.9 hours), San Diego (52.7 hours), Dallas (52 hours) and Chicago (49.1 hours).
“The vital free services that we provide strengthen New Yorkers and their communities, so it is imperative that we work with our partners in government to secure funding to best serve the public,” NYPL President Tony Marx said in response to the report.