On May 28, a special committee cut $525,000, or 10%, from the budget of the La Crosse Public Library in Wisconson without soliciting public input. The team did not adequately consider the many critical ways that the La Crosse Public Library guides and supports our community, especially as individuals and families navigate the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19.
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Contrary to claims in the 2020 Budget Reduction Plan, library services have not halted during the pandemic. The La Crosse Public library has adapted its systems, technologies, and staffing plan to serve the rapidly changing needs of the people of La Crosse. As such, it is a critical resource for preserving and improving the educational, economic, and civic health of our community during this time of dramatic change. It stands as a beacon of service and program that welcomes and reaches out to all La Crosse citizens, no matter their circumstances.
Given adequate funding, our library is poised to partner with community, business, and government organizations to assist in more effectively dealing with the challenges that our entire community faces as a result of the pandemic. Our library will continue to help put citizens back to work through critical services for job seekers. Our library will continue to support students, especially with the increased educational challenges of many learning from home. Our library will continue to be our guide as we navigate information overload. We cannot count on robust library services if we are unwilling to fully fund them.
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Hear us: we can’t thrive as a vibrant city without our life-saving libraries!
We, the citizens of La Crosse, request:
1. The voluntary reallocation of $150,000 from the Police Department budget to the LaCrosse Public Library budget. Initial cuts to the police department were $100,000 or 0.85%. Initial cuts to the La Crosse Public Library were $525,000 or 10%. Upon voluntary reallocation, cuts would stand at $375,000 or 7% to the La Crosse Public Library and $250,000 or 2% to the Police Department. (Reallocation requested by 07/15/2020)
2. The adoption of our 2021 Payback Resolution: A structured payback of pandemic related budget cuts in excess of 5%. (Resolution adoption requested by: 07/31/2020)
3. The adoption of our Budget Cut Threshold resolution: A commitment to provide no less than 14 days between adequate public notice and any vote on a budget revision resulting in a loss of resources of 5% or more to any department. (Resolution adoption requested by: 07/31/2020)
A socially distanced rally to be held outside the Main Library on Thursday, June 25th at 6pm. Please wear a fabric face covering (mask) if you are able. If you wish to donate bottled water, individually wrapped snacks, or hand sanitizer, please email [email protected] to coordinate or join the Taking Notice, Acting Together! group on Facebook. While some sidewalk chalk will be provided, feel free to bring your own.
For messaging inspiration, please see the American Library Association’s “Libraries Transform” campaign here: http://www.ilovelibraries.org/librariestransform/