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Antigo Public Library reduces hours in response to stagnant funding

Antigo Public Library Facebook

The Antigo Public Library is reducing its hours.

It’s the result of the library not seeing a funding increase in 11 years, despite rising operational costs and inflation.

During the pandemic, the Antigo Public Library has been a resource for everyone from students learning remotely to parents looking for jobs and grandparents caring for grandchildren.

But it can’t maintain these services at its current level of funding.

To compensate, it’s cutting back on hours. It’s now open 12 hours less each week.

“We can’t continue to provide all the services that we want to provide anymore,” Dominic Frandrup, the library’s director, says. “It’s really unfortunate.”

The decision to cut hours is one of a series of moves the library has made in the face of stagnant funding.

“It means that for the last 11 years we’ve fully been reducing services,” Frandrup says. “We’ve done things like reduce the number of new releases we’ve been able to purchase. Langlade County used to have a stand-alone eBook catalog. That went away a couple years ago as well.”

The library requested an 8 percent increase in funding from the Antigo City Council in October, but the request was denied.

It’s the only library in the state that has gone more than two years without some sort of funding increase.

But Frandrup says it can’t go much further. And he believes, it shouldn’t have to.

The Antigo Public Library offers a return on investment of $4.75 for every tax dollar spent. That’s 66 cents more than the state average.

Beyond that, Frandrup says public libraries, including the one in Antigo, play an essential role in helping the community’s most vulnerable.

“Libraries have been one of those needed public services that the people who need us really do need us,” he says. “On the economic spectrum, we do serve the underserved. We are open for everybody and we try to help every patron who comes through our door.”

The Antigo Public Library’s new hours will be Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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