Phoenix Libraries Cutting Hours Starting March 2; Many Branches to Be Closed on Sundays

 As one way to deal with a huge revenue shortfall, the City of Phoenix will shorten hours beginning March 2 at all of its library branches. About half of the 15 branch libraries will no longer be open on Sundays.

Victoria Welch, city spokeswoman for the library system, tells us the reduced schedule comes at a time when libraries are being used by more people than ever. The number of people through library doors from October through December was up 11 percent over the previous quarter, she says. Often, customers have to wait in line to use a computer.

As the recession plows on, cuts in library hours are on the verge of becoming a national trend.

Previously, Phoenix library hours were 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

As of March 2, that will change to:

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays

However, only eight branches will have Sunday hours: Burton Barr Central, Cesar Chavez, Cholla, Ironwood, Juniper, Mesquite, Palo Verde and Saguaro. The other branches, like Acacia at 7th Avenue and Dunlap (pictured at right), will be closed on Sundays.

Welch says the library staff looked at usage, geographic location and the facilities' resources in deciding which branches to close Sundays.

taking hits as the country's economy limps along.



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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.