Spokane Public Library extends hours | Arts & Culture
This time last year Spokane Public Library thought 2014 would be a grim year. Dwindling funds meant they would likely have to close at least one branch and reduce hours even more. However, a levy passed last February not only ensures all the branches will stay open, but for the first time in eight years the Indian Trail, East Side and Hillyard branches will be open five days a week.
“Budget has been difficult,” said Eva Silverstone, Communications Manager for Spokane Public Library.
The city libraries have been struggling for years. In 2005, hours at the Indian Trail, East Side and Hillyard branches were slashed to only 16 hours a week. After public outcry, the hours at those locations were increased to 22 hours a week. Less than half the operational hours at the Downtown, Shadle and South Hill branches.
“That year was just horrible,” said Silverstone. For the last few years the libraries have been relying on surplus funds to meet their budget needs, but those funds were exhausted in 2013. City Council voted unanimously last year to include a levy on the February 2013 ballot. The levy passed with 66 percent of the vote.
“Meaning that we have a lot of support for libraries in our community,” said Silverstone. The levy duration is four years, but Spokane Public Library is working to make sure they have a plan in place for when the levy expires.
“During this time we’re thinking about the future,” said Silverstone.
Just under one million people visit the six Spokane Public Libraries each year. Many of those visitors are there to use resources like free internet access and WorkSource job assistance.
“We’ve seen an enormous increase of people using the library,” said Silverstone. Indian Trail, East Side and Hillyard will be open 40 hours a week now, extending total library access by 54 hours a week.
“We’ve heard from our citizens that they love their libraries,” said Silverstone.
Spokane Public Library will celebrate the extended hours on Tuesday, January 7th, with Open Houses at the Indian Trail, East Side and Hillyard branches. Live music will start at 4pm, but the Open House hours last all day.
New Branch Hours:
- Tuesdays: 12pm-8pm
- Wednesday-Saturday: 10am-6pm
- Closed Monday and Sunday