Arlington Heights library to try extended weekend hours

 
 
Posted1/14/2016 5:35 AM
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  • The Arlington Heights Memorial Library may extend its weekend hours later this year.

    The Arlington Heights Memorial Library may extend its weekend hours later this year. DAILY HERALD FILE PHOTO, 2013

Arlington Heights Memorial Library officials will experiment with extending the library's weekend hours starting in March -- but patrons will influence where the extra open time is added.

On its website, ahml.info, the library is asking if people prefer the building stay open later on Saturday, stay open later on Sunday or open earlier on Sunday.

So far the online survey has gotten 1,500 responses. Opinion is nearly evenly split among the three options, Kuhl said, but opening earlier on Sunday is pulling ahead.

Comments will be taken through the end of this week, and the library will build the additional hours into its schedule in March, said Executive Director Jason Kuhl.

People can also give their preference in-person at the library through Saturday.

The idea to expand hours came from a community survey the library did with residents on the north and south ends of Arlington Heights last year to measure how well the library met their needs.

"We were surprised by one of the most common comments we got, which was people asking for longer hours on the weekends," Kuhl said.

Now, the Arlington Heights Memorial Library is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Library officials budgeted an extra $125,000 to try the extra hours in 2016. The additional costs mainly stem from keeping employees at the library longer, Kuhl said.

Kuhl said the extra hours won't cause taxes to increase -- the library board has approved a zero percent tax levy increase for six years -- but is affordable through tight budgeting.

At the end of 2016 the staff will see how many people took advantage of the extra hours, and the board will decide whether to make a permanent change.

"We want to make sure we zero in on the hours that would be most useful to people," Kuhl said.

"It just depends on people's lifestyles. Like with everything else, we're constantly looking for what we can do to fit into our residents' busy lives."

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