City budget cuts being felt at the La Crosse Public Library

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The recent cut in more than half a million in funding for the La Crosse Public Library is now being felt in job cuts and services. Libraries are usually pretty quiet places, but now the La Crosse Public Library is especially quiet.

“Fifteen of our colleagues were let go due to those COVID induced budget cuts that were passed down from our city funders and so it’s definitely quieter today,” said Dawn Wacek, from the La Crosse Public Library.

The laid off employees did everything from outreach, to collection management to archiving.

“Unfortunately what’s going to happen is that our services are going to be impacted,” said Wacek.

If you’re using the library to find a job, get a library card or do research, these programs are being slowed or halted from the lack of staffing.

“When we did the math it’s 1,000 hours a week of work that is taken away from the library,” said Wacek.

The library put out a statement about the layoffs from the budget cuts, saying, “When facing shortfalls of this measure, we have little recourse but to eliminate positions.”

And community members, like Heather Talbot, responded that they aren’t happy with these changes.

“I feel for the folks who are losing their jobs and I also feel for the folks who will not be receiving the level of service that we need in our community,” said Talbot.

So, they’re organizing to urge city leaders to reflect on the city budget.

“There’s a lot going on that we need our library for,” said Talbot.

“The library is loved by our community,”said Wacek.