Commission proposes reducing hours from 52 to 40 per week

  • PC: A new airconditioning system was put into the Petaluma Library this summer to make it more enjoyable to use the facility.

    9/5/2003: P1: A new air-conditioning system was put into the Petaluma Library this summer to make the facility more enjoyable to use.

Some residents are alarmed at proposed cutbacks in Petaluma Library hours, and one woman feels that it reflects a lack of concern for people with limited funds.

"Public libraries are a wonderful resource for us people who have very limited funds and cannot buy books, download them to a non-existent Kindle, etc. Can something (else) be cut that doesn't continue the class warfare?" wrote Cynthia Eggers on the Petaluma360 Facebook page.

The Sonoma County Library Commission has come up with a plan to reduce hours as part of an attempt to close a $1.05 million funding gap. Every branch library in the county would be open the same hours each week: closed on Sunday and Monday; open noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; and open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The Central Library in Santa Rosa would be open these same hours, as well as 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday

The Petaluma Library, at 100 Fairgrounds Drive, currently is closed on Sunday; open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Doug Cisney, manager of the Petaluma Library, says that the proposal to close on two consecutive days, rather than separated days, helps employees.

"If any other day is chosen to close, staff members don't get two days off in a row. If we are closed on Saturday, we miss a whole demographic group —?and it's one of the busiest days of the week," he said.

Some programs at the Petaluma Library would be affected by the new schedule, Cisney said.

"Adult programs already have been cut back, and we might need to cut them back further. Our three children's programs might need to be combined into two," he said.

The proposed hours change would result in libraries being open one less day and two fewer mornings, and on Thursday, rather than Wednesday, night. So, library hours would be cut back from 52 to 40 per week.

These proposed changes need to be discussed with the Service Employees International Union, which represents nearly all library workers, before any implementation can occur.

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