Monday Hours to Return to Oakdale Library in 2013

Washington County's Oakdale library branch will be open on Mondays starting in January.

It might be a day to loosen the guidelines on being quiet at the library.

Washington County will be restoring Monday hours at its Oakdale branch and four other Washington County libraries starting in 2013.

Plans call for the Oakdale, R.H. Stafford, Cottage Grove, Wildwood and Hardwood Creek libraries to be open Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and to open the Valley branch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. The Washington County Board on Tuesday, Oct. 2, approved the new hours as it prepares to finalize the 2013 budget.

The county will also be opening Woodbury's R.H. Stafford library for limited hours on Sundays as part of a pilot program.

Under a pilot program, the Woodbury library would be open from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays, except for summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The concern was: “Is everybody going to swamp Stafford?” said Washington County Library Director Pat Conley.

“We want to make sure we have good customer service—that’s why it’s a pilot (program),” she said.

Last year, as part of a cost-saving measure, the county opted to eliminate Sunday and Monday service at all branches.

Conley said she was “very, very pleased” with the county board’s 5-0 vote on the matter. She said she asked the board for $260,000 to restore some hours, and the group opted for an additional $24,000 for the pilot program in Woodbury.

County administration came up with the $284,000 in two places. First, from an increase in revenue from documents filed with the county's recorder's office and second from technology projects that didn't end up costing as much as orginally budgeted, said Deputy County Administrator Kevin Corbid.   

"We had a number of technology projects [budgeted for 2013] that didn't cost as much, so we had additional funding available," Corbid said. "Since we had fewer high-priced technology projects to do we repurposed it for the libraries." 

Corbid added that the money will be ongoing and is not one-time funding.

There was some “sadness and disappointment” from patrons over the 2012 reduction in hours, Conley said, but most were understanding about the fiscal restraints on Washington County.

She also lauded the county board, which came up with the idea for additional hours for at least one library during the school year during workshop sessions.

Conley thanked library users for voicing their support for additional hours.

“It really made a difference,” she said.


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