Plans for new Lafayette public library moving forward, community question decision

Posted at 9:26 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 22:26:44-05

Plans are moving forward for a new branch in the Lafayette Public Library System, but there is debate over the means to getting that branch built.

Starting in March, all library branches will be closed on Sundays.

It's an effort to save money for a new northeast regional branch, but some argue the cost of reducing open hours is too high.

According to the library board president, Robert Judge the Sunday closures will not be permanent.

Judge says the Sunday closures would only last long enough to close a deficit, to get the new library built.

Some in the community question whether it's the best option.

"Closing on Sundays saves us approximately $300,000 and as the year goes on it'll flush out a little bit more but that's half of that budget deficit that we currently have. It has the smallest impact on our patrons. Sunday is the day that is least used by the library so that's the best option,” said Judge.

The library board's decision will soon impact patrons like Jean Menard, who homeschools her children.

“We live in a rural area and we don't have a lot of access to digital resources. Sometimes we fall short on providing things that help with computer usage and things like that. We use the computers at the library, and we use the books.”

Jean Menard, started a Facebook group called Supporters Of Lafayette Public Libraries. She wishes the public had a chance to weigh in.

“They should listen to members of the public and try to get feedback because it's a public library, no matter what anyone's personal interests are, this is a public library, and it's for everyone in the community,” said Menard.

As for the ability to financially sustain a new branch, "If we get to the point where we have another branch, looking at probably six years down the road and that's if everything runs smoothly. We're hoping that when we get there will be able to have enough cuts and squeeze the budget enough to able to have funds to be able to run that branch that's our hope,” Judge added.

The library board will consider requests for the exact location of the new branch.

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