South Milwaukee Public Library Reduces Hours Due To Budget Constraints

From the South Milwaukee Public Library …

Beginning Monday, February 27, open hours for the South Milwaukee Public Library will be reduced by 10 hours per week. The city’s Library Board approved a new schedule of open hours at a February 9 special board meeting.

The loss of hours coincides with a reduction of two part-time staff positions through attrition. Budget constraints built up over the last few years, including 2023 are necessitating the actions.

“These are moves that the Library Board undertakes very reluctantly,” said Board President Lynn Meidam. “While there will be some inconvenience, we are committed to ensuring our library continues to provide our thousands of patrons with excellent services and programs.”

The current popular children’s programs will remain unchanged, the library will have open hours six days a week and there will be access to evening hours two days per week. New hours will be:

  • Monday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

One option available for community members to assist the library as it continues to navigate through budget/funding challenges is to become involved in the Friends of the South Milwaukee Library, an integral organization that supports the library through fundraising and advocacy. More information at:

The South Milwaukee Public Library is the city’s most used non-school public facility. In 2022 there were 48,049 library visits; total circulation of 102,389 items, including 34,973 children’s materials; 21,345 uses of e-materials; 306 programs attended by 9,654, including 8,490 children; and 6,969 uses of 15 public-access computers.

More information at:

A quick personal note on this, having lived through some of these discussions as mayor …

While it makes me sad, I respect and fully understand the decision to reduce hours. At the same time I am happy the library remains a 24-7 resource for the community. I say “24-7” because I continue to be impressed with its online offerings.

Look no further than the “Resources” tab on its website.

Click on this link, and then dive into a few databases. I’ll wait …

The library has literally made the world a few mouse clicks away from its users.

Balancing these opportunities with in-person services is the future. It is how libraries will continue to add value for generations, as I suspect budgeting won’t get any easier for the library — or any government institution — going forward.

In the end, libraries will rise or fall because of their people. Ours is rising.

From its innovative director to its passionate and caring Board members to its committed and growing Friends group, these are people dedicated to doing more with less, to ensuring the South Milwaukee Library is sustained for generations, whether that’s in-person, online or in the community. Thank you to all of those people who are making a difference.

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