September 24, 2008

Library changes hours it's open

The Racine Public Library Board of Trustees has voted to change the hours the library is open each week, from 56 to 57. Beginning Sunday, Oct. 5, the library will be open four evenings per week
instead of three. Friday and Saturday hours will be extended, and Sunday hours will start earlier.

The full schedule:
Monday-Thursday, 9am to 8pm;
Friday and Saturday, 11am to 4pm;
Sunday, 1-4.
Sunday hours will begin October 5, 2008, and go through Sunday, May 17, 2009, with the exception of the two Sundays before and after Christmas, December 21 and 28, 2008. This change will not affect the Mobile Library schedule.

The board is responding to patron requests that the library be open four evenings per week and stay open Sundays into May. By shuffling staff schedules, and by closing the Sundays before and after Christmas, the staff arrived at this proposal.

Theron Snell, Library Board President, said "The real impact will be the consistent hours the library is open. Public response to a library survey has been overwhelmingly in favor of this new schedule. I am impressed with the creativity, thoughtfulness and willingness of the library staff to adjust to patrons' needs, without increasing costs in these tight budget times."

The last time the hours were changed, in 2004, the library had to close twelve hours per week. Health insurance costs had been shifted from the city to the library, creating a deficit that was impossible to overcome any other way. Since then, with funding not increasing and costs rising, both staff and library materials have been cut.

The budget for 2009 will essentially wipe out the library's operating reserve. The City of Racine by state law must fund the library at no less than the average of the three previous years. Racine County is bound by the same state law for funding the five Racine County libraries. This means very little funding change from year to year.

Because of the stagnant funding and increasing costs, the Racine Public Library Foundation was created to begin raising funds for operations through bequests. This is in addition to the generous
endowments left to the library for specific purposes, and the donations that have been saved for the library board's top goal, a second library location. If you would like more information about the
RPL Foundation, please call 262-636-9170.

No comments:

Post a Comment