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KCMO public libraries to begin extended hours next week

Posted at 5:26 PM, Aug 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-30 18:26:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Big changes are coming to Kansas City, Missouri, public libraries starting next week.

After voters approved an 8-cent increase on the property tax-based operating levy last November, nearly all of the Kansas City Public Library branches will be extending their hours.

Joel Jones, deputy executive director of the Kansas City Public Library, said 81% of voters voted to increase the levy, which was the first change to the rate in 22 years.

The money became available July 1 when the fiscal year began. Jones said the library hired eight part-time employees to help with extra hours, and it also plans to hire a handful of children's librarians and staff members to help with outreach services.

Jones gives much of the credit to staff members for creating an environment that community members want to support.

"Over the past 25 years, our staff has done a great job making connections inside our building and outside them," Jones said.

Beginning Sept. 6, every location other than the Sugar Creek Branch will open at 9 a.m. Saturdays instead of 10 a.m.

Sites opening at 11 a.m. Sundays instead of 1 p.m. include:

  • Lucile H. Bluford Branch
  • North-East Branch
  • Plaza Branch
  • Southeast Branch
  • Trails West Branch
  • Waldo Branch

Jones said Sunday is the day of the week that usually draws the most crowds.

"It can be a pretty compact day for our staff, a lot of people come through those doors," Jones said. "They're waiting to come in at 1 o'clock and then we have to push them out at 5 o'clock."

The Lucile H. Bluford and Southeast branches also will close at 7 p.m. Fridays instead of 5 p.m.

Jones said those locations serve a lot of students who rely on libraries and will be able to benefit from the extra hours of computers, WiFi and youth activities.

The money generated from the tax increase won't go only toward the extended hours. The library has renovations and extra services for children and seniors planned as well.

The new schedule will begin Friday, Sept. 6.