The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors recently approved a plan to expand library operating hours, effective July 8, 2016. This will mean opening all 13 library branches – including those in Oakdale and Riverbank – on Fridays and opening two hours earlier at the Ceres Library on Saturdays. The change in hours also includes closing one hour earlier – 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. – at libraries in Modesto and Turlock. The new hours represent a net increase of 84 hours per week countywide.
The library is funded primarily by a 1/8-cent dedicated sales tax. During the height of the recession, sales tax revenues declined sharply, forcing a reduction in hours, including the closure of all library branches on Fridays. Since that time, customers have consistently expressed their desire for the library to be open on Fridays.
“Expanded hours, particularly in the smaller communities like Empire, Denair and Hughson, represent the single greatest improvement the Library can make to its already excellent customer service,” said County Librarian Diane McDonnell.
With improvement in the economy, the library is now in a position to restore hours. Growth in sales tax revenue will be used to cover Friday staff time, janitorial and security operating costs associated with the 84 additional hours. Prudent fiscal management has resulted in the rebuilding of the library’s fund balance, which will ensure the library’s ability to sustain the expanded hours.
These expanded hours fulfill the promise made to the voters who reapproved the library sales tax measure in 2012 to keep branches open, maintain hours, provide Story Time and programs for children, teens, adults, and seniors, and maintain a vibrant book, CD, DVD, and Reference collection. The Library continues to innovate with expanded online resources available 24/7.