Madison Public Library and City of Madison leaders are facing incredibly difficult decisions during the pandemic as they propose cost-cutting measures for the upcoming year’s city budget. Each city department and entity was asked by the Mayor’s Office to cut 5 percent from their budget; that percentage equates to a $1 million reduction for the library. Last night, the library’s board of directors voted to present an operating budget proposal to city leadership that would:
- temporarily close Monroe Street Library in 2021
- shorten hours at Alicia Ashman, Central, Pinney and Sequoya libraries, and remove Sunday hours at Central, Pinney and Sequoya
- add Sunday hours at two of the following: Goodman South Madison, Meadowridge, Lakeview or Hawthorne libraries (to be determined)
- reduce programs and supplies expenses by 50 percent, and professional development by 30 percent
- eliminate 32 mostly vacant positions
The board also adopted a resolution that it would author a letter in support of reopening Monroe Street Library if funding and COVID-19 circumstances change in 2021.
This is the first step in the library’s annual budget process; today, the approved budget will be submitted to the city’s finance team. In October, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway will introduce her Executive Operating Budget, which will undergo a public review process that may involve amendments. Therefore, the proposed budget is by no means final.
Madison Public Library Foundation’s mission is to support library facilities, services and programs. We’re working with the library to understand its priorities and will do our part to help with private donor funds amid these extraordinary circumstances.
We believe Madison Public Library is essential to our community, and we know our donors feel the same way. To share how you feel about your neighborhood library and its services, please contact your Madison Common Council representative and the Mayor’s Office.