LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The city of La Crosse hopes some expert will help maintain all three of the city's public libraries, as the city's Library Task Force formally recommended to the city's Library Board to hire an outside consultant, which could cost the city between $20,000-$50,000.
The hope is that the expert would help find ways for the libraries to save money. “They really don't have any stake in the issue as far as leaning one way or the other, they have an open mind,” City Council member Francis Formanek said.
There is one big question though the Libraries are posing—can it be done in time? “Can we effectively get a consultant in here to do their work and bring results in time to consider those results and incorporate any suggestions,” La Crosse Public Library Director Kelly Krieg-Sigman questioned.
Krieg-Sigman said she is not opposed to bringing in outside help to keep all three public libraries operational, but she hopes to present a different plan. “I do not have the details yet. The options are not a lot if the expectation is that current service levels will be maintained,” Krieg-Sigman said.
Formanek said hypothetically, bringing in a consultant is not a bad idea. “If there is more bang for the buck, in other words, if you can get a better idea of a plan that would work, that'd be a good thing,” Formanek said.
If the Library Board is presented with a different plan, it must be presented soon. “We are getting to a very close point of the budget for 2015,” Formanek said.
Both the City and La Crosse Public Libraries want to find a way to keep all libraries open without spending more money—something which remains a great hurdle to overcome.
The City Council has until November to approve a budget for 2015. The Library Task Force will host three listening sessions, open to the public, in August. Those days, times, and locations are as follows:
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