At a press conference in the Rotunda of City Hall following the regular City Council meeting, Mayor Annice Parker, accompanied by Houston Public Library director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson and Council Members Davis, Gonzalez, and Burks, announced that Saturday hours at 14 librarys and Sunday hours at the Central Library will soon be restored.
The reduction in library hours were reduced during the worst years of the recession 2010-2011. However the local economy has recovered substantially and tax revenues in the general fund are now sufficient to plan restoration of services.
The restored service hours are made possible by $3.1 million added to the HPL budget. A portion of the additional funding is expected in the current budget year from a General Appropriation request in April 2013, and full funding will be included in the HPL FY14 budget. These funds will be allocated to the hiring of 109 new staff members at HPL, making the restored service hours possible. The first wave of postings for these positions were added to the City of Houston website today. The restoration of service hours will take place in phases, as new staff is hired and trained, beginning April 1, 2013.
The first phase will include the neighborhood libraries. HPL posted 12 Library job openings at the City of Houston Human Resources page today. The same positions can be viewed in the Employment Opportunies section of the HPL Website Dr. Lawson estimated that it will take about two months to select and train the personnel needed. The Central Library will be part of the second phase. Restored Sunday hours are projected for June of this year.
“The most frequent request we receive from Houston Public Library customers is to restore library hours on the weekends so more families can access their neighborhood library,” Dr. Rhea Lawson. “The very best way we can serve the citizens of Houston is to provide access to services when they most need us. We are very excited about the restoration of hours at 14 neighborhood libraries, offering Saturday service at those locations for the first time in three years and Sunday hours at the Central Library. We are working to finalize the new schedules and will announce them soon.”
Locations that will have restored Saturday hours are:
Carnegie Neighborhood Library
HPL Express Southwest
Lakewood Neighborhood Library
Looscan Neighborhood Library
Mancuso Neighborhood Library
Moody Neighborhood Library
Morris Frank Library, a HPL Express Location
Pleasantville Neighborhood Library
Ring Neighborhood Library
Robinson-Westchase Neighborhood Library
Shepard-Acres Homes Neighborhood Library
Smith Neighborhood Library
Stanaker Neighborhood Library
Stimley-Blue Ridge Neighborhood Library