LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The South Community Public Library has been providing people with a place to read and relax for many years. Now, due to budget cuts and staffing issues, the library board and the city have made the tough decision to close the library.
Library Director, Shanneon Granst, says, “The La Crosse Public Library has over the past 13 years lost 20% of its staffing, which is a significant amount to maintain the services that we provide. We’re just getting to the point where we are no longer able to sustain three physical branch locations.”
La Crosse City Council member, Erin Goggin, explains that the city is losing funding to a number of city services, “It’s not just that we’re losing funding for the library closing. It’s for all of the services and functions that the city has to do. We’re trying to stay with a budget. We’re trying to hold the line on taxes while providing the most services and the most programming available. And the library presented with a 2% cut, which equaled about $100,000, decided to close the facility instead of losing more staff.”
Goggin says that it is painful to see the library go because the library has done everything they can to stay open. Also, because her mother was a huge proponent to the libraries in town, ‘She was granted numerous awards for volunteering at the libraries. And so, my heart just sort of aches because of this, because, again, it’s a place to go read a story to a child. Libraries are just such an integral part of a neighborhood and of a city.
Grant wants everyone to know that closing the library wasn’t an easy thing to do, “We want the community to know that it wasn’t a decision that was made lightly. We are disappointed because we know that our community has a very special place. The South Branch has a very special place in the hearts of a lot of people who utilize this building.”
Grant says the library is going to continue to look at innovative ways that they can provide service to people who can’t come to one of their two remaining physical locations. Grant says that employees who work at the Southside location work hours at the other library branches.