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Library’s Sunday Hours Pilot Program gains momentum

Date: 11/14/2013

Molly O’Neil

WILBRAHAM – The Wilbraham Public Library has never been open on Sundays for the more than 20 years that Library Director Karen Demers has worked there.

Thanks to a new strategic plan, community survey and change in budget, the library is instituting the Sunday Hours Pilot Project through May 18, 2014. The library will be open on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m., with the exception of Easter Sunday.

When asked why library personnel decided to expand its hours, Demers said, “People are working during the week and their schedules don’t allow them to all come into the library ... so this has been a great opportunity for families to come in together.”

Demers explained that every couple of years, the library has to send a strategic plan to the state. The community, through a survey and town meeting, decided on what changes the library should make. One suggestion that was popular for participants was expanding weekend hours.

To be able to open the library on Sundays, the Thursday night hours had to be cut and an amount of $5,459 was agreed upon for the Sunday budget. The Friends of the Library is paying for the guests to come in for Sunday programs.

The events scheduled on Sundays are for both young and old visitors. A marathon of short films is going to be played for the Winter Solstice. Lectures have also taken place; for example, there was a talk about the Greatest Major League baseball players in October.

In the spring, there will be a program about container gardening. Musical acts such as a jazz group from Minnechaug Regional High School and a band from Wilbraham & Monson Academy are going to perform on Sundays.

The Sunday Hours Pilot Project will become permanent if the amount of use is large. Demers said that the success of the project is calculated through “the circulation of materials, library visit numbers, and feedback from the attendance of programs.”

“I love it,” Demers said in regards to the Project. “It’s nice to see use [of the library] by pretty much all of the demographics in town.”