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NYT LOE: Federal Money for Public Libraries

Federal Money for Public Libraries

To the Editor:

In “Infrastructure Isn’t Really About Roads. It’s About the Society We Want” (Opinion guest essay,, April 26), Eric Klinenberg argues that strong public infrastructure — places where communities can gather, learn from one another and grow after over a year of isolation — is the key to our resurgence and renewal, just as it was during the New Deal.

We strongly agree, and cite public libraries as the ultimate example: trusted, welcoming community and civic spaces offering education and opportunity for all. These beloved neighborhood institutions and their free and irreplaceable services, classes and programs will be central to our recovery.

We ask the Biden administration to support the Build America’s Libraries Act, which calls for federal investment in libraries across the United States. Public libraries, the most democratic of institutions, have $26 billion in capital need nationwide; New York City libraries alone have $1.1 billion.

We must ensure that libraries are in good condition and equipped with the technology, flexible space and modern amenities needed to serve today’s patrons.

As we look to move into our next chapter, robust funding will be critical if libraries are to remain strong anchors of our communities

Anthony W. Marx
Linda E. Johnson
Dennis M. Walcott
The writers are presidents of the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library, respectively.

Posted on: May 3, 2021, 2:31 pm Category: Uncategorized

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