Keep Politics Out Of The Library

As we detail elsewhere in this issue, the Queens Library system is the subject of two separate bills in the State Senate, calling for reforms to the way the Library does business. While the Senators behind these bills say they are trying to do what is best for the system, and the Borough President’s office calls for reforms and the City Comptroller’s office investigates the books, the Library’s Board of Trustees has publicly stated that its practices are fine, and no reforms are needed.

But no one seems to be saying these things to one another.

The Queens Library system is one of the best in the world, offering more than just books. Educational and language programs, computer and job training and afterschool events for kids are all offered throughout the Library’s branches. The more political games get played with the proposed reforms, the higher the chances that these programs can be lost.

While the continued barking about the needs for reforms makes for a great story, it is time for a sensible end to these public negotiations. It is time for the Queens Library’s Board of Trustees to stop playing defense, for the elected officials calling for reforms to halt their offensive. Instead of going back and forth behind separate closed doors, the two sides need to come together and negotiate a plan that works for all involved – especially the people that rely so heavily on the library for its services.

As far as anyone knows, there have been no meetings with all the principle players in this drama. We call on those individuals who say they are protecting the library – the members of the Board of Trustees, the Borough President and members of the Queens delegation in the State Legislature – to meet, not to argue over who is right and who needs to go, but to determine how best to go forward to ensure the future of the Queens Library is protected.
The political games need to stop. The time for talking is now.