Public Library Will Restore Sunday Operating Hours By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 12, 2005

The Berkeley Public Library main branch is planning to open again on Sunday afternoons starting at the end of September, Library Director Jackie Griffin told the Daily Planet in a phone interview. 

The Library Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider the proposal at its meeting next month. 

Last July as a cost-saving measure the library was forced to close on Sundays and reduce evening hours. As recently as last May reopening the main branch on Sundays seemed too costly, but in June the City Council voted to raise the library tax by more than 5 percent with a directive to restore Sunday hours. 

An informal library poll found that a majority of patrons favored opening the main branch from 12 to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Griffin, however, said that a six-hour day would be difficult to staff. She prefers the 1-5 p.m. schedule with the option to restore two additional hours during weeknight evenings if the library can afford it. 

Since most library users on Sundays are students, Griffin said, the library would also consider closing on Sundays during summer months to provide more evening hours. 

Until July 2004, Berkeley Library branches had been closed and the main branch had been open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.