The La Crosse Public Library operates three locations and receives a little over $4 million each year in taxpayer funds.
Last year, the library had 825,875 items checked out, and the public computers were used 75,064 times. These statistics were among information presented to members of the La Crosse Common Council in a special meeting on Tuesday night.
Council members say they appreciate presentations like the one on Tuesday night where they have an opportunity to escape the trivial details of government and focus deeper on one core aspect of the community.
Kelly Krieg-Sigman, Director of the La Crosse Public Library, talked about modernization and community outreach efforts that happened last year. Those continue to be priorities for the library moving forward.
Although not all council members agree on changes happening in the library, they all agree on its importance to the community.
"Everybody thinks it's just about reading books, but obviously it's not," said Gary Padesky, District 7 Council Member. "There's a lot of good programming down there that helps a lot of people."
"The more educated a community is, the greater the quality of life, the greater the safety, and the library is a key component in education for the community," said Doug Happel, District 12 Council Member.
Top priorities for the year include updating technology, digitizing city records, and creating more partnerships in the community; however, the top priority is restructuring space. Right now, Krieg-Sigman says the museum space is not being used to its fullest potential. She says any future review would also include a look at the overall layout of the building.
Common Council will make some decisions at a meeting on Thursday that will include some additional funding for some library projects including more than $30,000 to re-purpose the old Explore La Crosse van for a pop-up library.