Two Wichita library branches on the chopping block in 2019-20 proposed budget

Local

The proposed Wichita budget is out after it was presented at Tuesday mornings city council meeting.

Your taxes won’t go up because the mill levy is staying the same.

However, the budget has Clapp Golf Course closing at the end of September.

A surprise to some people is that Linwood Park Branch Library would close next, and the Evergreen Branch Library would close the following year.

The news of Linwood closing down came as a surprise to Debra Corey.

Corey just moved into the area a few months ago and has gone to the library a handful of times.

“If they start closing down the small centers of the libraries, there are going to be people who are going to have more and more trouble getting to the library,” said Corey.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Wichita City Councilman Brandon Johnson. Johnson oversees District 1, where the Linwood library is located.

“When you have library there, you think about all the folks that are south of that, that don’t have a library close, this is a way for them to access the public library system,” said Johnson.

Cynthia Berner, the Director of Libraries for the city of Wichita, says a study done last year points to the reason why Linwood will cease operations.

“That library is one of the least used in our branch library system, it is one of our smaller locations,” said Berner.

As well as, the Evergreen Branch Library.

“Out of the four large branch libraries, it is the one that is least used by the community,” said Berner.

Berner says the recommendations came from the City Manager’s Office, calling it a difficult decision.

“We know there are lots of great things libraries do for their neighborhoods, for the communities as a whole, but the city has some difficult budget decisions that they have to make,” said Berner.

As for those who frequent these branch libraries, like Corey, she’s hopeful the city will reconsider the proposed decision.

“I’m hoping they don’t close this particular location or the other one really,” said Corey.

There are two public hearings for city leaders to hear your thoughts on the budget.

They are scheduled for August 7 and 14 at Wichita’s City Hall.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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