Executive Director Melinda Cervantes said that the decision to reduce the hours of operation was very difficult, but the change was necessary to address understaffing the department has faced for the past few years that has led to reductions in services.
“In addition to less revenue coming in and increased operating costs, we don’t have enough staff to maintain daily operations at every library in our system,” said Cervantes. “Our goal is to deliver high-quality customer service every hour that we are open, which is difficult when libraries do not have enough staff. We have already had to reduce the number of Storytimes, community events, and other literacy programs due to budget constraints.”
The libraries that will close on Sundays were selected after analyzing usage, location, and operational costs. Staff members who work Sundays at the eight designated libraries will be reassigned to other libraries in the system.
“The Library has already identified numerous operating efficiencies to cut costs, including reducing outreach activities and partnerships, reassigning staff that specialized in literacy outreach to work in libraries, and delaying facility maintenance and technology projects,” Cervantes explained. “We’re saving another $171,000 with this change to our Sunday hours.”
Ten libraries will remain open on Sundays. The Salazar-Ajo Library, which is located in the Town of Ajo, will be closed on Saturdays during the summer. Library administration will reassess the schedule at the Salazar-Ajo Library in the fall. The current hours and library locations can be found on the Library’s website.