In this economic environment, it’s not very often a library can expand hours. This semester, the Luria Library has been encouraged to expand our weekend hours and we have been given the funds to do so. The community donor met with me a couple weeks ago and she suggested the expanded hours. Over my other suggestions, she felt this would have the most immediate and direct impact for students – it’s not sexy, but it is practical. Our donor suggested tracking the usage over the next six weeks to see if it makes an impact for students. The funds also included advertising (which we haven’t completed).
The expanded hours do take a little juggling because of staffing — hourly workers, adjunct librarians, etc — but we made it work. The library will now be open from 10:00am-10:00pm on Sunday through the end of the semester. Today is the first day of our expanded hours and, ironically, I am working the circulation desk to cover for our regular staff person. It’s fun to be here on Sunday and see the type of work that occurs (and I can wear sneakers). The library is active and alive.
Until today, our normal opening time was 1:30. At 10am we had 3 people waiting to get into the building, at 11am we had 19 people in the building, at 12pm we had 44 people, and at 1pm we had 109 people. With limited marketing – a post on Facebook and Twitter earlier in the week and a few signs posted on the library doors on Friday – we have a minor success for the first day. I suspect that once the word gets out that we’ll see more students in the morning. The other side of the coin is remaining open until 10pm rather than 9pm; this matches our weekday hours.
How do we measure success? Is there a magic number of students to support the extra hours? Creating an excellent community college library means setting ourselves apart from the others. How many other community college libraries are open on Sunday?
Time will tell. Right now, I’m happy we can offer the expanded hours for those who are present.