New York Public Library Budget Cuts Hurts The Future Of Zillennial Literacy

With Mayor Eric Adams’s decision to close library hours, a new conversation started

Mayor Eric Adams caused a frenzy for those in New York City after announcing the budget cuts being made in the community, including the public library. With the downscale, the Adams’ slashed the seven-days a week services, eliminating full service on Sundays. 

The hours are changing, and the cuts impact the purchase of programming, new materials, and maintenance, creating an unwelcoming library environment. “In all my time in government, this is probably one of the most painful exercises I’ve gone through,” Adams says in a statement.

The reasoning behind the cuts stems from the two crises Adams was facing, including an influx of migrants that led to his decision to cut New York City’s $110 billion budget. Not only does this affect the people working in public libraries, but it prevents the next generation from fully experiencing the library. 

For Millennials and older Zillennials, going to the library was a rite of passage, specifically for those in marginalized communities. Many students could not afford computers and printers in the house, so the library was an outlet for resources and literacy. 

“Without sufficient funding, we cannot sustain our current levels of service, and any further cuts to the Libraries’ budgets will, unfortunately, result in deeper service impacts,” the Brooklyn Public Library statement says. “We know how much New Yorkers rely on the vital resources we provide, and we remain committed to meeting their needs as best as possible.”

Unfortunately, various communities are going under the radar in an era of inflation and war largely because they are not given priority. Education is the leading contender going under,because community leaders need to pour into students in the neighborhood. 

With the pandemic and the surge in digital content, Gen Z’ers were finding new ways to read and consume information from their phones. According to the 2022 Wattpad Survey, 67 percent of Gen Z respondents say they read on their phones, compared to 51 percent of older generations who say they still prefer turning the page manually on a physical book, magazine or newspaper.

Over the last few months, there’s been a significant conversation surrounding literacy education for Zillennials and Gen Alpha. For educators worldwide, many of them are noticing how behind students are regarding their education

Read ‘Viral Teacher Discusses The Discourse Caused From TikTok Video’

Just a few months ago, social media caused a week of discourse after a teacher went viral for opening up about the state of literacy for students in school. 

“I felt as though this was a conversation or a topic that nobody was discussing,” Bryant told GU of his viral Tik Tok video. “I came into the profession because I have a passion for teaching, but it seems my efforts were wasted. These babies are our future; this is something that we all need to be talking about and trying to find a solution to. How do we prevent the trickle-down effect? Where do we start?”

At present, students face an additional challenge as public libraries begin to scale back to a non-seven-day schedule. Despite New York City being in the hot seat, this decision sets the tone for what could happen in other major cities. 

About Kenyatta: Clark Atlanta University and Medill School alumna Kenyatta Victoria is the Girls United writer covering everything from news, pop culture, lifestyle, and investigative stories. When not reporting, she’s diving deep into her curated playlists or binging her favorite comfort shows.

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