Free Library Friends Statement on the Free Library's budget for Fiscal Year 2022
Once again, the Free Library of Philadelphia is not receiving the full funding needed to serve the city we love.
In 2020, facing the pandemic, the Mayor and City council cut funding for many services. The Free Library lost over $6 million. These devastating cuts meant laying off necessary workers. For the 2022 budget, despite a promise to restore library funding to pre-pandemic levels, the Mayor proposed a budget increase restoring only about 40% of what was cut.
City Council announced that they would be further increasing funding as part of their anti-violence plan. However, the library's budget was only increased by about $175,000, which is shamefully less than 0.1% of the previous year's devastating cut.
For decades our elected leaders have not allocated enough funds to maintain or improve city services. Now, we, the citizens, are forced to live with decaying buildings, outdated equipment and faulty systems. Each day, we face deteriorating services, record gun violence, along with recovery from the pandemic. All of these disruptions put our lives and health at stake. It's time to invest in the Free Library and other city services.
[Philadelphia] City Council needs to undo decades of eroding public budgets. It needs to make consistent investment in the city's services, buildings, and equipment.
The Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia call on [Philadelphia] City Council and the Mayor to provide robust, sustainable funding to the library and all vital public services, so we can build the city that we truly deserve.