Two libraries in Sarasota County could soon re-open on Sundays

Sarasota County considers extending library hours

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Two libraries in Sarasota County could soon be open on Sundays, according to a plan just approved by County Commissioners.

Selby Library and Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library stopped being open on Sundays back in 2012, but these are the two that will likely be making a comeback.

Currently all 10 public libraries in Sarasota County are closed on Sundays and the idea of having Sunday access is one many people at Selby welcomed on Wednesday.

“We [have to] pick out more books, okay?” said Allie Gagnon to her 3- and 5-year-olds in front of Selby Library.

She said Selby is her little ones’ favorite.

“They like it better because of the fish tank and it’s a bigger selection of books and a bigger play area,” Gagnon explained.

She hadn’t heard that County Commissioners are moving forward with a plan to open two libraries in North and South County on Sundays, but said she was all for it.

“I think it’s a really good idea to give families the opportunity to get out more," Gagnon said. "I would definitely take that opportunity myself.”

It’s an opportunity many would take, according to the research found by Director of Libraries and Historical Resources Sarabeth Kalajian.

“For some people, that really was the day that they either, individuals or entire families could fit into their schedules a visit to the library," said Kalajian.

Selby Library in Downtown Sarasota and Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda in Venice both used to be the only two open on Sundays, but staff made the tough decision to close them due to budget cuts in 2012.

Now Kalajian said it’ll cost about $310,000 to re-open the two for a year.

“We just really remember the time when the whole family would come to the library on Sunday afternoon and spend the day reading and participating in activities," Kalajian said.

She also added this is about more than just books.

“It’s the social interaction, it’s the learning in place," Kalajian said. "We also have a lot of folks who don’t have computers or internet service at their home, so there’s a line outside the door every morning of folks waiting to come in, specifically to use the computers.”

Commissioners unanimously voted to push this proposal forward, but also directed staff to find the source of funding since the $310,000 wasn’t included in the 2020 budget.

If they can, the two libraries will be open every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for at least a year, starting in January.

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