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Library Sunday hours may continue; non-library events now allowed in building

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Sunday hours at Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library may be here to stay.

During Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, Watertown City Manager Sharon A. Addison discussed how she and the library were working to keep the library open every day of the week.

“We did not have Sunday hours in the budget for 2012-13, so we’re at a loss for how to do this,” she said. “We’re in scramble mode right now.”

She suggested City Council reallocate $25,000 that was budgeted to build stairs behind the library. With the money, the city can hire temporary clerks to work Sundays until the new fiscal year begins in July. Library Director Barbara J. Wheeler determined the cost to keep the doors open Sunday — including maintenance, having librarians work when the temporary clerks could not and hiring a new clerk — would be about $11,000.

“One of the clerks was scheduled for surgery as soon as the trial ended because she thought it would just be eight weeks,” Ms. Wheeler said.

She resigned shortly after due to surgery complications.

Librarians who work on Sunday would be compensated, according to the resolution to recommend the reallocation to the City Council.

“(The librarians) don’t want me to work every Sunday,” Ms. Wheeler said. “It was their suggestion. They’re willing to take it on.”

Ms. Addison said she plans to bring up the idea at the next City Council meeting.

The Sunday trial, which ran from Oct. 7 through Nov. 25, was a success, according to both the council and the trustees. About 170 patrons came through the doors the first Sunday the library was open. The library averaged nearly 250 patrons the first six Sundays.

“I was surprised and pleased,” Ms. Wheeler said previously.

In other business, the library trustees passed a resolution to revert to their old events policy to allow outside organizations to hold events in the building — at Ms. Wheeler’s discretion — for the time being.

During the September trustees meeting, a resolution was passed 9-1 to prohibit events not related to the library, the Friends of the Library or the city. Trustee Maxine M. Quigg said she received criticism over the action. “Damage has been done,” she said.

The Policy Committee will present a refined policy at the January meeting.

Trustees discussed a potential policy to allow a maximum of four events per year, but Mrs. Quigg said restricting events would be a bad idea.

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