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Hennepin County Library will add 249 open hours per week across its 41-library system beginning in January 2014. This increase is supported by the Library's 2014 budget request.
"Our patrons have been asking for more open hours and a less confusing schedule, and we are responding," said Hennepin County Library Director Lois Langer Thompson. "We are working to streamline and innovate, and make the best possible use of the resources we have."
The additional hours are part of a new framework that places Hennepin County libraries in four groups based on patron use trends and assigns a set of open hours to each group. Feedback from patrons, staff and other stakeholders also informed the framework, which has been under discussion since 2012.
"Our libraries touch every Hennepin County resident," said Mike Opat, chair of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners. "This is a good framework that provides more access to our celebrated library system and its resources including space, materials, technology and staff."
Under the new framework, all Hennepin County libraries open at either 9 a.m. or noon. All libraries close at 5 p.m., 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. This moves the Library from 15 sets of open hours to four; from four opening times to two; and from seven closing times to three.
Thirty-four libraries increase hours, three libraries maintain current hours and four libraries reduce hours. Libraries maintaining current hours are Roosevelt, Southeast and Webber Park. Libraries reducing hours are Champlin, Maple Plain, Oxboro and Westonka. Hennepin County Library will continue to monitor patron use at these locations.
"Ninety-five percent of Hennepin County residents live within 3 miles of a library, and the majority of our patrons use more than one library," said Director Thompson. "We have designed the new hours framework to ensure access throughout the county."
Library administration and staff are working to determine a January "go live" date for the new open hours. Also to be determined by the Library is which days and evenings of the week various libraries will be open under the new framework.
The final open hours schedule will be available to the public in December.
Group 1: Open 69 hours per week, seven days a week, four evenings: Brookdale, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minneapolis Central, Plymouth, Ridgedale, Southdale.
Group 2: Open 62 hours per week, seven days a week, three evenings: Augsburg Park, Brooklyn Park, East Lake, Edina, Franklin, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Hosmer, North Regional, Penn Lake, Rockford Road, St. Louis Park.
Group 3: Open 48 hours per week, six days a week, two evenings: Champlin, Excelsior, Linden Hills, Minnetonka, Nokomis, Northeast, Oxboro, Pierre Bottineau, Rogers, St. Anthony, Sumner, Walker, Washburn, Wayzata, Westonka.
Group 4: Open 24 hours per week, three days a week, one or two evenings: Long Lake, Maple Plain, Osseo, Roosevelt, St. Bonifacius, Southeast, Webber Park.
Library Help Desk and Ask Us services will also add hours to maintain their availability during all library open hours and increase the availability of reference service by IM, text and email.
About the Library
Hennepin County Library serves 1.2 million county residents in 41 library buildings, online at www.hclib.org and in the community. Our mission is to nourish minds, transform lives and build community together. We envision a Hennepin County where library services ensure every person has the resources to read, graduate, engage, work and learn.
Almost 70 percent of Hennepin County residents are active library card holders. In 2012, Hennepin County Library supported 5.4 million visits to our libraries and 21.1 million visits to our website. More than 16.6 million items were checked out from our collection, and our 1,910 public computers were accessed more than 2.7 million times.