METUCHEN — Starting Sept. 10, Sunday hours are back at the Metuchen Public Library.
“This was due to the hard work by the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Library and our new Director John Arthur,” said Councilwoman Allison Inserro.
Arthur said due to the library budget continuing to bounce back after years of deep cuts and a result of some reassessment and rearrangement of how the library is staffed, the Finance Committee determined that opening on Sundays starting in September is now feasible.
“Reopening on Sundays has been a goal of the Metuchen Library Board of Trustees and staff since those hours were cut in 2014,” he said.
The Library will open Sunday from 1-5 p.m. between Labor Day and Memorial Day.
In May, Arthur, along with Sondra Flite, president of the Friends of the Metuchen Library, had asked Mayor Peter Cammarano and the Borough Council to consider the library’s request for $8,000 to provide staffing for Sunday hours as the council discussed the 2017 municipal budget.
Cammarano had said the hardest part of putting together the municipal budget is balancing priorities as department heads sent out their requests every budget year.
This year, the borough did not honor the library’s request, so library officials revisited the library budget and reworked funds to staff Sundays.
Flite said the Friends of the Metuchen Library are thrilled to see the return of Sunday hours this fall.
“We congratulate the Library Board of Trustees on the job they’ve done to contain operating costs and make the extra hours possible,” she said. “Patrons who took last year’s survey on the library indicated that Sunday hours are important to them, and the Trustees, Director and staff have come through.”
Flite said the library offers late hours all week, but it’s hard for many people to get to the library after work.
“Sunday hours will make it much easier to check out and return books and museum passes,” she said.
Arthur noted that Saturdays and Sundays are the library’s busiest hours with people taking out books and to people attending events including the library’s annual Lunar New Year program in February.
“When you look at the statistics for the years when the library was opened on Sundays, the number of books and other materials checked out per hour was often significantly higher on Sundays than the average per hour during the weekdays,” Arthur said. “This is a vital service, especially for members of the community and families who find it difficult to make it to the library during the week.”
To celebrate the return of Sunday hours, the library will be holding a grand reopening party on Sept. 10, which will include an art gallery opening, a drop-in bookmark craft project, face painting, a dough making and dough braiding class.