AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – In a confirmation of discussions held amid recent budget workshops, Amarillo Place Four Councilmember Les Simpson announced upcoming changes to the operating hours of the Amarillo Public Libraries. These changes will include service hours decreasing at the two largest library locations and increasing at the other three.
Simpson said that the proposed schedule changes will mean that service hours at the Downtown and Southwest libraries will decrease by six hours and increase by six hours at the East, North, and Northwest branches. He said that the proposed change comes after presented traffic usage patterns showed “minimal” library usage after 7:30 p.m., and that the new schedule will equalize hours for all five library branch locations.
The new library operating hours listed by Simpson included:
- 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Mondays-Thursdays;
- 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and
- 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays.
The new change will mostly impact the Monday-Thursday hours of the library branches. As noted on the Amarillo Public Library website, current scheduling has the two larger branches, Downtown and Southwest, operating from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. The three other branches currently operate from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, then from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.
The new proposed schedule will result in all five library branches being open for about 64 hours per week each, a change from the current 70 hours of operation for the Downtown and Southwest branches and the 58 hours for the other three. According to the Texas Library Association, basic service standards for a public library in Texas include that facilities in areas with populations similar to Amarillo (around 201k) operate at around 64-66 hours per week. Each facility is also required to operate for at least 64 hours per week to reach the minimum requirements for accreditation, among other employment and funding standards.
Previously, community members spoke out against the proposed hour changes due to the fact that many people are not out of work by 7 p.m., which could result in their access to the public library and its many services being denied.
Further, in previous budget discussions, officials considered not filling the currently open positions within the library system alongside laying off two current employees. At the time of his announcement about the schedule changes, Simpson did not mention the status of possible layoffs or reassignments for employees that could be included in the proposed library budget.
This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.
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