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Downtown library to end Sunday hours


Barring a last-minute intervention, the Central Library downtown will no longer offer Sunday hours. The library has been open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays from October through the middle of May.

The downtown library includes both the Rundel and Bausch and Lomb buildings on South Avenue, and is funded by Monroe County and New York State. But the county has not increased its $6.62-million contribution in 11 years.

Calls to a county spokesperson were not returned.

The 11 library branches located throughout the city are funded by City Hall and the state, and none are open on Sundays. That means that city residents would not have access to library services at all on Sundays if the Central Library cut goes through.

"We're eliminating access for all families in our city," said City Council member Elaine Spaull during a recent budget hearing.

Sunday is the Central Library's most expensive day to operate because the union contract requires staff to be paid overtime, said Patricia Uttaro, director of the Monroe County Library System, during the same budget hearing. Sunday hours cost the library about $104,000, says Sally Snow, MCLS assistant director.

The Central Library gets a lot of use on Sundays, she says. During eight hours of operation on a normal weekday, approximately 2,637 people use the Central Library, Snow says. That number on a normal, four-hour Sunday is 703, she says.

"Sundays are a pretty big day, especially in our Local History Division," Snow says. "That is one of their busiest days. We have a lot of amateur genealogists come in."

Snow says that they're trying to find money to open on a few Sundays for special events.

"We may have a few here or there that we can do," she says.