Library board submits plan for cuts, hours reductions, temporary closures

The Madison Public Library Board voted Thursday on a plan it says will help offset 2021 budget shortfalls.

The shortfalls come from both a decrease in its baseline budget ($300,000), due to a decrease in revenue from COVID-19 operations, increased expenses in some areas as well as the board's decision to eliminate overdue fines.

There is also a 5% reduction in money from the city's 2021 budget. ($958,987). All city agencies were asked to provide a 5% reduction in budget.

The board voted on a plan to meet both financial constraints. They sent the plan to the city's Finance Committee on Friday.

Cost to Continue/Baseline Budget - $300,000 reduction

  • Elimination of overdue fines
  • Programs and supplies – 50% reduction
  • Professional development – 30% reduction
  • Mileage reduction
  • Closure of the Youth level of the Central Library during weekday evenings (6-9pm during non-COVID hours)
  • 9 positions eliminated: 1 Librarian (.5 FTE), 1 Program Assistant, 1 Clerk (.7FTE), 6 Pages (Total 4.5 FTE; all positions are currently vacant)

5% Reduction Budget: Option G, amended - $958,987 reduction

  • Goodman South Madison, Hawthorne, Lakeview, and Meadowridge Libraries will maintain regular hours
  • Alicia Ashman, Central, Pinney, and Sequoya Libraries will move to one shift (8 hours) 6 days per week
  • Monroe Street Library will temporarily close for 2021
  • Central, Pinney and Sequoya Libraries will not have Sunday hours
  • (Goodman South Madison OR Meadowridge) and (Lakeview OR Hawthorne) Libraries will have Sunday hours (this option was amended by the Board to reflect a desire for equal library service on west/south and east/north sides of the City)
  • 23 additional positions eliminated: 5 Librarians, 4 (2.7 FTE) Library Assistants, 13 Pages, 1 Security Monitor (Total 12.95 FTE; most of these positions are currently vacant or could move into existing vacant positions at other libraries)

The budget also includes a decrease of 127 service hourse per week at five libraries in 2021.

The proposed plan isn't finalized at this point. It will now go the City's Finance Committee as well as Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway for approval before it's introduced as part of the Executive Budget, which is then reviewed by the Common Council. The board tells 27 News the board did issue a letter to the city in support of restoring some library funding and reopening the Monroe Street Library when we no longer have to keep it closed for COVID-19 concerns. 

To read more go to WKOW:

Photo: WKOW

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