Library hours added

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett library branches will be open seven days a week, board members voted Thursday.

Almost nine months after budget cuts forced leaders to reduce the library service from 71 hours to 43, the library board voted to increase the service to 53 hours a week.

While officials had said hours may stagger at branches, Thursday's proposal was for a uniform system throughout the county's 15 branches, including the new Hamilton Mill branch, slated to open April 24 -- the day before the new hours take effect.

The schedule includes Sunday and Monday service, which had been a bone of contention last summer, and officials took care to set both morning and evening hours to allow for storytime for preschoolers as well as study hours for teens and evening time for commuters.

"We've designed this best we can so students, adults and life-long learners can find a way to fit the library into their schedules," said Gwinnett County Public Library Deputy Director Liz Forster.

The schedule was based on community input, including surveys at local branches and e-mails from concerned residents, Forster said.

"It restores the library hours at the times that are important to our customers," she said.

The extra hours could be restored because of money set aside by a tax increase, approved by commissioners late last year.

"This is a win-win situation," Library Board Chairwoman Phyllis Oxendine said. "It's all good news, and in hard times, it's good to see some good news for a change."

Beginning April 25, the library hours will be:

Sundays 1 to 5 p.m.

Mondays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesdays 1 to 8 p.m.

Thursdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Fridays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.