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5 Jul 2015 03:21 PM EST

-by Yuliya Geikhman, Staff Writer; Image: The Brooklyn Public Library (Image Source: David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The New York, Queens, and Brooklyn public library systems form a network of good reading, safe and quiet environment to grow and learn, and events, classes, and workshops for everyone.

Despite everything that the libraries provide to their communities, libraries have faced budget cuts throughout the years that not only restricted the things they can do, but also prevented much needed renovations and repairs. Some libraries were open only five days a week, while others had to cut down on special events because of the lack of funds.

Luckily, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito recently announced an extra $39 million for the city’s libraries, allowing for a restoration of six-day service at all branches across the city’s three library systems (Brooklyn, New York, and Queens). But public libraries are still accepting donations to further their service.

The library systems of NYC have joined together to launch the Invest In Libraries program, which urges library patrons to donate themselves if they can.

In the digital age it can be easy to forget that we need our libraries for many reasons—they’re not just for checking out books! So here are five reasons why it’s worth investing in your local NYC library:

5. They help people get jobs. We’re not talking about just librarians, either—libraries have countless resources for people who have lost their jobs, need career counseling, or are just setting their feet into the world of employment for the first time. NYC libraries can help you write your resume, learn to apply to jobs, and use the computer to do so. Without the libraries, many New Yorkers would be losing out on free employment assistance.

4. They provide a free, safe place for kids and teens to hang out. From story time to game time, libraries are a great place for kids to go. Libraries fill up after school, as kids take advantage of the safe indoor environment, the homework help offered at many branches, or the computers. Storytime and fun special events for the tots make parents grateful when many other indoor classes and events are not free—and usually not cheap.

3. They give people access to technology. Libraries might be all about books, but they haven’t fallen behind on the times either. All NYPL libraries have free Wi-Fi and computers, and some have laptops and even tablets that can be borrowed within the library. These are a valuable resource for anyone who doesn’t have access to any of those things, for whatever reason.

2. They have extensive archives. Believe it or not, not everything can be found online. The central branches of the NY library systems have access to original manuscripts, documents, and old newspapers—valuable information for anyone doing some research or trying to find something specific that just isn’t online.

1. They are community hubs. Libraries are places where people gather together for many different reasons, but they’re also places where people can learn about their communities. A report by the American Library Association found that 25% of the people who go to libraries learn about events happening in their communities from them.

There are lots more reasons to #investinlibraries. Help libraries remain essential parts of our communities. Visit Invest In Libraries for more information on what you can do to help.

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