By Rachel Hall, contributing writer
Libraries are part of the pulse of a thriving neighborhood.
“They are vital to the community,” explained Austin Memorial Library Director Mary Cohn. “As gateways to knowledge and culture, libraries play a fundamental role in society.”
Not only are libraries a place that welcome everyone, they also create opportunities for learning, support, literacy and education, according to Cohn.
It wasn’t long ago when Austin Memorial Library was open on Tuesday evenings and Saturdays for the community, though that schedule discontinued as it became no longer economically feasible for the city with patronage averaging one person per hour per employee.
Cohn heard through the Texas State Library that other librarians were having success with operating hours on Sundays. Though she was first hesitant with the idea of opening Austin Memorial on Sunday, communication with her staff and members of the community made the idea more appealing.
“Libraries need to be open when the public has the time to use the library,” said Cohn.
While attending church, eating lunch, or shopping in Cleveland in Sunday, families and individuals can stop at the library, explained Cohn.
“It could soon become a routine visit, and a much appreciated service to our community,” she said.
Family-oriented programming is already on the Sunday schedule including story time and family movies.
Other programs hosted at Austin Memorial include: Baby & Me Storytime, Maker Monday, Homeschool Social, Tween Crafts, Tween Reading, Teen Advisory Board Meeting, Family Movie Night, Child-Caregiver Workshops, and the annual Summer Reading Program.
Volunteer opportunities are also available.
“I believe the extended hours represent an optimal use of city resources, a better chance of growing patronage and circulation, and a way for Cleveland to once again show that it is a family-oriented city looking forward, said Cohn.
Austin Memorial Library is located at 220 S. Bonham Avenue.
Hours of operation are Monday through Wednesday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.