Friday, February 10, 2017

Library extending hours as of March 1

Readers, researchers and internet surfers will have more time to work or enjoy themselves under the roof of Crittenden County Public Library beginning next month.

Starting Wednesday, March 1, the library will be extending hours on four of the six days it is open, including more time after 5 p.m., on weekends and all day Wednesday. Last Thursday, the library board of trustees approved adjusting the facility's hours of operation to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. This adds 12 hours to the weekly schedule.

"This will give us more opportunities to plan programming and more time for students and families to use all the resources found at the library," said Library Director Regina Merrick.

Merrick introduced the idea to the board last year as planning for physical expansion of the building ramped up. The $2.5 million expansion was put on hold when the library was denied a state grant last fall, but the board decided to move ahead with plans to offer more to its patrons.

Currently, the library is open eight hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and half-days on Wednesday and Saturday. In the spring and summer, Monday and Tuesday hours have been extended to 6 p.m.

Over the decades, patrons have become accustomed to the limited weekend and after-5 p.m. hours, and suggestions for improvements at the library have regularly included additional hours of operation. With limited access to high-speed internet across the county and users of free WiFi commonly parked or seated outside the library after closing, the board felt now was a good time to address the community's growing need for online access while giving users of traditional print and audio materials and DVDs something extra, too.

All library services will be available during the extended hours, and some additional programming will go hand in hand as part of the expansion of services.