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updated: 9/18/2013 9:20 PM

Naperville library budget includes extended Sunday hours

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The Naperville Public Library plans to extend Sunday hours at the Nichols location downtown during the next budget year without adding additional staff, officials said Wednesday.

The library's $15,836,300 budget includes about $11.4 million for the roughly 280 employees who will continue to staff the Nichols Library as well as the 95th Street and Naper Boulevard branches, even when Nichols' hours are extended to last 1 to 9 p.m. Sundays instead of 1 to 5 p.m.

A request to levy $14,460,800 in property taxes to support the budget will be considered by the Naperville City Council at a budget workshop next month, Finance Manager Jeff Scheuerman said.

The longer Sunday hours are likely to be the change most visible to the public in the library's spending plan for the year that begins May 1, 2014, and lasts until April 30, 2015.

Another possible change -- the addition of business incubators to support startups and workers who use the library as their office -- is expected to be studied throughout the year. But Scheuerman said specific funding for business incubators is not yet allocated in the library's budget, which received unanimous support from board members Wednesday.

The Nichols Library is expected to keep its doors open four more hours on Sundays beginning in January and running until the end of May. It then will go to a summer schedule without the longer Sunday availability, before switching back to extended hours in September, Scheuerman said.

In a trial run of longer hours last year, he said, library staff noticed demand for checking out items was low on Sunday nights.

"The facility was a place a to come to get ready for work and the school week," Scheuerman said.

That means the library, which employs a majority of part-time personnel, can operate with minimum staffing during the new hours to be added.

The $14,460,800 million levy for which the library is requesting city approval came in lower than expected, but still increases 1.3 percent from last year's levy of $14,270,000, officials said. Library Director Julie Rothenfluh said some of the increase comes from $250,000 the library will carry from this year's budget into the next. The ability to carry forward that balance came mainly from savings on wages and benefits, she said.

Library board President Sandy Benson thanked staff members for bringing forward a "fiscally responsible" budget that fits with the city's budgeting philosophy.

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