La Crosse Public Library director reflects on career as a leader

The director of the La Crosse Public Library is calling it a career after more than a decade serving the community. Kelly Krieg-Sigman has spent the last 16 years trying to figure out how to deal with the increasing use of digital information.

Despite the fact that society relies on computers more than books, the doors of the library are still open.
She said she is proud of the work they have done, but it’s time for her to step away from her calling.

It’s the anniversary of her first big break in 1985 as the director in of the library in Germantown, Wisconsin.

“I’ve been kicking rears and taking names ever since then,” Krieg-Sigman said.

Books can teach us things this library has taught Kelly about the changing landscape of the public library.

“The single biggest influence on libraries during my career has been technology,” she said.

Kelly and her staff responded to the changes and it helped keep their doors open.

“I think the current mission statement of the library says it all,” Krieg-Sigman said. “Evolve. Adapt. Thrive.”

The need for a hard copy may be receding, but she said people will always need a place to access information.

“There will always be a need for a neutral public space, where people can come together face-to-face, interact with each other in productive and positive ways,” Krieg-Sigman said.

Change is inevitable and it was time for a new chapter for Kelly, as well.

“I am tired physically,” she said. “I’m more tired mentally.”

It’s time to turn the page onto retirement and enjoy the little things.

“I can walk the dog a little longer,” she said. “I can actually have a conversation with my husband.”

But there’s no storybook ending to her passion for this place. It’s the sequel to her time spent leading here on Main Street.

“I am not retiring from the city or my love for the city or my passion for the city,” she said.

Shanneon Grant will take over as director. She is a 25-year veteran of the library. She spent the past two years as the director at the Sparta Free Library.

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