In 2017-2018, 299,226 people visited the Prescott Valley Public Library, a 54 percent increase over the previous year, with new users numbering 3,177. In Yavapai County, 55.6 percent of residents have a library card.
Prescott Valley Public Library will introduce Sunday hours from 1-5 p.m. as a pilot program to see if patrons truly use the library on Sundays.
The new hours begin Nov. 18 for about five months to allow library officials to gather data and receive input from the community, Casey Van Haren, library director, told Town Council members at the Oct. 4 study session.
Sunday hours are good news for those who rely on the library’s computers and printers, said Councilmember Marty Grossman.
When Van Haren spoke with library staff about the possibility of opening on Sundays, she said everyone was willing to step up; they recognized the need in the community for additional hours.
“I was really pleased with everybody’s understanding that yes, this has to happen,” she said, adding that in all the libraries she has worked over 30 years, they all had Sunday hours.
Because the library’s operating budget for this fiscal year pays for 58 hours a week for 21.37 fulltime employees, the library will need to cut four hours from its regular hours to shift to Sunday.
To find out where to cut, Van Haren looked at the numbers.
A survey asking how likely patrons would use the library if open on Sundays revealed 35 percent checked “not likely” and 65 percent checked either “likely” or “very likely.” The survey also asked which hours patrons would prefer: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (57.2 percent) or 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (42.7 percent).
Van Haren also looked at door count numbers over three weeks. From 7 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 196 patrons visited the library (Sept. 13-Oct. 2). From 9 to 10 a.m. weekdays and Saturday, 942 patrons visited the library (Sept. 24-Oct. 3).
As far as impact to the budget, expanded custodial services and a possible need for on-call services for things such as clogged toilets or alarms may be needed. Currently, custodians clean on weekday evenings, which would result in going from Friday evening to Monday evening with the library in use three days between cleanings. Van Haren indicated the $9,000 needed to cover the extra service is available in the library’s budget.
The greatest impact, she said, is providing service at five points in the library: checkout, help desk, reference, children’s, and drive-up window. On Sundays, the plan is for only two service points: checkout will incorporate the help desk, and the other is the children’s department.
She already has notified groups and programs that normally run up to 8 p.m. of the change in schedule.
Town Manager Larry Tarkowski reiterated that this is a pilot project.
“We don’t know how many people are going to take advantage of it, or the feedback for closing from 7 to 8 p.m.,” he said.
In answer to Vice Mayor Lora Lee Nye’s question about what criteria will indicate success, Van Haren said if 50 to 100 patrons visit the library during Sunday’s four hours, she would consider that a success.
In other work study discussions, the council heard from Bill Osborne, Capital Projects coordinator, that the police department expansion is about 74 percent complete. By mid-November, staff may move into the new building and the contractor will begin remodeling the older section.
The town has a three-year window to make safety improvements to its courtrooms to comply with new state standards.
This year’s budget will cover ballistic barriers for the judge and court reporter, increased surveillance within the courtroom and “back of the house,” metal detector and security personnel to run it, two transactions windows with hardened glass, installation of a gun locker, and an additional door to the hallway to the jury room. Osborne said staff is researching all the products needed for the project.