For the first time since opening, the Westminster Branch of the Carroll County Public Library (CCPL) will begin testing Sunday hours, starting in October.
The test will run through April.
The pilot test comes at the request of the city of Westminster and urging of the board of Carroll County commissioners. Local businesses hope the opening will bring more people to Main Street on Sundays.
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Lynn Wheeler, director of the Carroll County Public Library systems, said the institution had requested Sunday funding in its budget each year since 2007, but the money just hasn't been available to fund it.
"This was the first time the city asked the library to offer Sunday hours," Wheeler said. "It came out of a Main Street business-owners roundtable discussion. The owners wanted the library open to bring more people to Main Street on Sundays."
Wheeler said the city not only requested that the library open, but also provided funding to make the additional hours possible.
"Recognizing the role the library plays as a driver of economic activity on Main Street, the mayor and Council of Westminster requested that we open on Sundays and agreed to pay 20 percent of the cost," Wheeler told Patch.
The Westminster branch will open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays from October 7 through April 28, for a total of 28 Sundays, Wheeler said. After the pilot period, adminstrators will assess the success and feasibility of Sunday hours.
Wheeler said that the city had to buy in with funding, but also that the county had to support the idea by providing flat funding to the library, plus 3 percent for salaries.
"The commissioners supported the budget office's recommendation of flat funding ... we were very happy that the commissioners approved CCPL's FY13 budget as proposed," Wheeler said.
Funding for Sunday hours will come from several sources, including increased costs for some library services. According to Wheeler, on May 1 the cost of printing and copying increased to 20-cents and the cost of out-of-state cards increased from $20 to $25.
The total cost of funding Sunday hours and additional security services is $88,769 (28 Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.). The city of Westminster will provide $12,980 and the remaining $75,789 will be paid through increased fees and repositioning of some personnel.
This will be the first time that the Carroll County library system has offered Sunday services.
"I think it's a great step for the library. We anticipate that Sundays will be very busy at the Westminster Branch, based on long-standing data from neighboring libraries showing that Sundays are often the busiest service period of the week," Wheeler said.