Dear Library Supporters,

As you might have read recently in the local news and across social media, the City of Madison is facing major budget challenges in 2025 that could force significant cuts to Madison Public Library service and operations. In response to the city’s recent directive to the library to present a 5% ($1.09 million) budget reduction plan, the library crafted two budget scenarios that the Library Board will consider this Thursday evening (July 11).

The library’s budget team has worked tirelessly over the past few months to creatively identify a variety of reductions and reallocations that prevent any single library or the collection from experiencing a deeper, isolated reduction; however, if either of the two 5% reduction scenarios are realized by the end of the budget process in November, the magnitude of the cuts will be pronounced. Both scenarios would reduce library operating hours by approximately 100 hours per week across seven locations, require 18.7 full-time equivalent (FTE) layoffs (29.1
staff positions), and hinder the library’s ability to achieve priorities identified by the
community and incorporated into the library’s newly adopted strategic plan.

You can view the two scenarios, titled Option A and Option B, here. Each option offers a cost to continue budget followed by a 5% reduction scenario.

Both options would:

  • eliminate the currently vacant Business Operations Manager position, using those dollars to keep Monroe Street Library open five days per week and to maintain Dream Bus mobile library operations
  • end the library’s subscription to its Kanopy video streaming service, which the foundation might fund with a grant

And in both cases, the 5% reduction scenario would include:

  • eliminating Sunday hours (no layoffs, low customer impact)
  • programming reductions of 3–6.5 FTE positions and 15%–60% of the program services and supplies budget (a mix of layoffs and contract/supplies reductions, with reductions of up to 30% of all programming, including programs for youth and adults)
  • eliminating evening library hours (resulting in layoffs of 12.2 FTE, or 22.6 positions, and resulting in a reduction of 90–100 service hours per week across seven locations)

Option A would leave no startup operating funds for the Imagination Center at Reindahl Park in 2025.

The primary difference between Option A and Option B is that Option B would shift even more money from the library’s programming budget to fund three new systemwide positions in 2025 that would be instrumental in moving the Imagination Center at Reindahl Park forward. The library and foundation are in strong support of Option B.

Libraries lift up and strengthen our whole community. Madisonians rely on the library to learn, engage with others, enhance their careers, and enrich their lives. Libraries are for everyone, and they level the playing field by providing free tools for literacy. It pains us to know that youth and teens who’ve made the library a second home in the evenings will have less time there to use technology, read, and participate in programs, and that service hours reductions will present obstacles for all patrons. The best possible outcome would be for the city to find a way to avoid cuts to the library budget — which could happen if it pursues a referendum, taps surplus funds, or identifies new or increased revenue-producing opportunities.

Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, we urge you to email the Library Board collectively at and share your support for Option B. This scenario would advance the Imagination Center project, preserve Dream Bus access for those in our community who experience transportation barriers to the library, and maintain operating hours five days a week at the small but much-loved Monroe Street Library. You might also share what you value and love about the library in your email, and why you believe the library is essential to our community.

You can also demonstrate your library loyalty by following the library and foundation on Facebook and Instagram, and creating posts highlighting the library’s importance as a city service.

Thank you in advance for advocating for our library.


Conor Moran signature in green

Conor Moran
Executive Director

P.S. Have questions about the 2025 budget scenarios and process? The library’s 2025 budget FAQs page should address most of them. Please reach out to us at if you have a question that isn’t answered there.