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Actor LeVar Burton goes to bat against proposed library cuts

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Today is Library Workers Day and actor LeVar Burton is urging New Yorkers to tell city leaders — by signing an e-mail letter — “No cuts to libraries!”

Big Apple libraries are currently facing a staggering, nearly $60 million budget cut. In mid-November last year, branches that had seven-day service were scaled back to six days. Meanwhile, libraries are critical community cornerstones, with offerings for everyone from small children to seniors.

“These proposed cuts could have devastating impacts for New Yorkers, who have already lost access to seven-day service due to a previous round of budget cuts,” Burton said. “The cuts proposed for next year would lead to even further service reductions, including the loss of yet another open day at most libraries.”

Burton of course, during his career, has portrayed such iconic roles as Kunta Kinte in the TV miniseries “Roots” and Geordi on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

“Growing up, some of my best childhood memories were in libraries,” the actor said. “Thanks to librarians and library staff, I had a space to learn and grow, as well as access to books that transported me to rich, vibrant worlds. It is a gift that has kept on giving. From ‘Roots’ to ‘Star Trek’ to ‘Reading Rainbow,’ my love of reading and unimpeded pursuit of knowledge have been central to my life, as well as my career.

“Library workers provide critical free resources — from story times to ESOL classes to after-school support — to New Yorkers of all stripes,” he added. “They help level the playing field and set kids up for success. We can’t risk their futures.

“Join me in speaking out on behalf of libraries. Take a moment to sign a letter telling city leaders how important it is to you to keep New York City libraries funded.”

To tell City Hall “No cuts to libraries!” sign the letter, here.

Councilmember Carlina Rivera — who heads the City Council’s Subcommittee on Cultural Affairs, which oversees the city’s three library systems — also has been leading the charge against the proposed library budget cuts.

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