Starting on Saturday, September 9 the Fox Branch Library will be open on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The new Saturday schedule parallels that of the Robbins Library, which is open on Saturdays from September through June. This expansion of weekend library service is a response to needs identified through library user surveys and feedback from the community, and is made possible by municipal funding and funding from the 0502Friends of Fox Library.
Weekend library hours are a critical resource for working parents, their children and all those who are unable to access library services on weekdays or evenings. The value of weekend library services is reflected in foot traffic, circulation numbers and children’s program attendance. Last year the Robbins Library circulated an average of 140 items per hour on weekdays, and an average of 200 items per hour on Saturdays. Weekend children’s programs are regularly at capacity.
“Over my five-year career in Arlington’s Libraries, the desire for access has been the main theme in community forums, conversations with library users, and in suggestion box comments,” says Director of Libraries, Andrea Nicolay. “I am thrilled that we’re in a position to expand weekend hours and I hope we see many new faces as a result.”
Each year, the Library Board of Trustees determines goals and objectives for the year ahead with input from library administration. A perennial objective is to ensure that the library’s hours of operation and staffing levels meet the needs of the community. There are competing views of where additional library hours are most needed; for example the Robbins Library has been closed on Thursday mornings since 2004. In the case for Saturdays, it came down to the fact that weekend hours are useful to more people.
The neighborhood surrounding the Fox Library has seen other investments and
developments in recent years: streetscape improvements along Mass Ave, the addition, expansion and renovation of neighborhood schools, and a number of new businesses. Saturday hours at Fox Library translate to more activity and foot traffic for the entire Capitol Square business district. In addition, families can look forward to a monthly Saturday children’s program at the Fox.