The Mid-Continent Public Library system plans to expand hours starting in 2018, although a few smaller branches in Platte County will actually see a slight reduction.
In a release sent out last week, library officials outlined the sometimes complicated changes set to go into effect Jan. 2, 2018. All 31 branches of the system in the Kansas City metro will have new hours of operation set after months of community meetings and conversation.
Collectively, the library system will add an additional 78 hours of operation per week, or 4,000 more each year, once the new schedule starts. A graphic to show all of the changes is included with this story.
“The hours are unique to each branch’s individual customer needs — whether that means staying open later during the week or providing weekend hours,” the release said.
The changes include the addition of Sunday hours at 17 branches, including the Parkville and Boardwalk locations in Platte County. They will now be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., resulting in a net gain of five hours of operation per week.
“We regularly hear from customers that they need our services seven days a week,” said Ritchie Momon, chief customer experience officer at MCPL. “For some, it’s a matter of accessing vital services like the internet, which they may not have at home; while for others, it’s their hours of work that interfere with their ability to stop by during the week.
“Whatever the case, we’re striving to eliminate these barriers to expand access as much as possible.”
Changes at other branches are more intricate.
Platte City and Riverside branches will see a one-hour reduction in operations on Monday and Thursday but will gain two hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, going to a consistent 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. schedule on those days. The Weston branch will gain one hour per week with a switch to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours Monday through Friday.
Edgerton, Dearborn and Camden Point branches — three of the smallest locations in the system — will lose one hour of operation a week but will remain open six days a week.
Camden Point will be open one hour less on Mondays. Dearborn and Edgerton will have three fewer hours on Mondays but two more on Tuesdays.
All three locations in northern Platte County will have more consistent hours with the changes.
“At Mid-Continent Public Library our mission is to provide customers access to resources and services that enrich their lives,” said MCPL director and CEO Steven V. Potter. “These new hours not only enhance our ability to deliver on this goal; they also ensure customers are being served in a way that is most convenient and beneficial to them.”
The new service hours are made possible through an increase to the funding — the first in 33 years — which voters approved with the passage of Proposition L in November of 2016.
In addition to utilizing these dollars to expand branch hours, MCPL has already increased its collections budget by 13 percent, added staff to its special programming initiatives like Library-By-Mail for homebound customers, and will soon release a construction timeline for its planned improvements to its aging facilities.
Updates on the progress of projects can be monitored at www.mymcpl.org/community.
MCPL is the largest library system in the Kansas City metropolitan area, operating 31 branches and four Library-To-Go locations and serving nearly 800,000 people in Jackson, Clay and Platte counties. The system strives to enrich citizens and communities through expanding access to innovation, information, ideas and inspiration, according to the press release.