Bette Midler urges Mayor to reverse $36M libraries cut

Famed singer and actress Bette Midler urges Adams to reverse $36M libraries cut in city budget
By Ethan Stark-Miller
June 28, 2023

Bette Midler urges Mayor Eric Adams to reverse $36M libraries cut in the city budget

Legendary singer and actress Bette Midler urges Mayor to reverse $36M libraries cut to the city’s three public library systems in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which must be passed by the City Council before midnight on Friday.

Midler, the singer of chart-toppers such as “Wind Beneath My Wings,” said in the missive that she “does not envy” Hizzoner’s position of having to make “difficult choices” in balancing the city’s budget for the coming fiscal year. But she pleaded with Adams to spare the city’s three public library systems — the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens Public Libraries..

Bette Midler’s Letter To Mayor Eric Adams

Lady Authoresses Should Always Wear A Hat

I know you are busy negotiating the FY24 city budget, a job I do not envy,

We are at such an important point in our history, and I know that difficult choices must be made, I also know that your administration is considering a $36.2 million budget cut for public libraries. Respectfully, I ask you to reconsider this proposed cut.

It is without question that the city is facing challenges. However, our libraries, which account for only 0.4% of the budget, are uniquely positioned to help.

 From story times for toddlers to music programs for seniors—and everything in between — public libraries are a lifeline for our communities. Unfortunately, these cuts will force libraries to curtail their hours and even close branches on weekends throughout the city. We can’t afford to lose library services right now. – Bette Midler

Bette Midler Responds To An 88 Year Old Fan

Bette Midler writes a 88 year old fan in 1984

A mayoral spokesperson, in a statement in response to the letter, pointed to the mayor’s move to spare the libraries from the latest round of cuts and said the administration has been working with the council to “evaluate if adjustments can be” in the budget. The proposed operating budget for the libraries is $431 million, which factors in the cuts.

“Mayor Adams appreciates Ms. Midler’s commitment to our libraries and our city as a whole,” they said. “All three public library systems were exempted from the January and April savings programs. We are always looking for ways to ensure these vital institutions can continue fulfilling their mission and – well before this letter was sent – have been working with [the] City Council to evaluate if adjustments can be made through the budget process.”

The news site Gothamist, citing two unnamed sources, reported Wednesday afternoon that public libraries are likely to see their funding fully restored in the forthcoming city budget.

Midler is hardly the only celebrity urging the mayor to reverse the library cuts as the city budget inches ever closer to being finalized:

Childhood And The Library

Stars That Have Spoken Out About The Library Cuts

  1. Bette Midler
  2. Sarah Jessica Parker,
  3. Ethan Hawke
  4. Chelsea Clinton
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